Weight Loss Surgery Reduces Risk of Severe Liver Disease in Obese People: Study | Health Info
By Robert Preidt and Robin Foster, Health Day reporter
FRIDAY, Nov 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Weight loss surgery has reduced the risk of severe liver disease or liver cancer in obese people with fatty liver disease, according to a new study.
It included more than 1,100 patients with an aggressive type of fatty liver disease. Patients who had weight loss (bariatric) surgery had an almost 90% reduced risk of advanced liver disease, liver cancer, or related death over the next decade, The New York Times reported.
These results were seen in just five of 650 patients who underwent weight loss surgery, compared with 40 of 508 patients who did not have the surgery, according to the study published Nov. 11 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Consistent with previous research, the study also found that patients who had weight loss surgery were also 70% less likely to have a cardiac event, stroke, heart failure, or death from heart disease.
“Obesity is the main driver of fatty liver disease – it all starts with obesity,” said study author Dr. Ali Aminian, director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. Times. “When we have excess fat building up in the liver, it causes fatty liver disease; then the inflammation comes on and gets worse, then scar tissue forms and leads to cirrhosis.”
“When a patient loses weight, the fat disappears from everywhere, including the liver; the inflammation goes away and some of the scar tissue can reverse and improve,” Aminian explained. “Weight loss is the main factor here.”
The results are remarkable, according to the study’s lead author Dr. Steven Nissen, academic director of the Heart and Vascular Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
The liver risk after bariatric surgery “was the lowest I have seen in 30 years of studies, an 88% reduction in progression to advanced liver disease,” he told Times.
This was an observational study in which researchers looked at cases at the Cleveland Clinic over 12 years, so it does not prove that weight loss surgery directly reduces the risk of serious liver or heart disease.
However, this adds to the growing evidence that weight loss surgery may offer additional health benefits beyond weight loss, according to the Times. But the operation was not without risk: Sixty-two of 650 patients who underwent weight loss surgery in the study group developed serious complications after the operation, and four of them died in the year following the operation.
About 250,000 bariatric surgeries are performed each year in the United States, which has approximately 100 million critically obese adults.
THE SOURCE: The New York Times
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