Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sleep Apnea & Bariatric Surgery Risk

Last week the Sleep Education Blog reported that bariatric surgery may reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnea; but it doesn’t cure the problem.

What about safety? Is weight-loss surgery a risky procedure?

study published today examined the short-term risks of bariatric surgery. It measured adverse outcomes in the 30 days after surgery.

People in the study had an average age of 44.5 years; 79 percent were women. Their median
body mass index (BMI) was 46.5; a BMI of 30 or higher is considered “obese.”

The study analyzed 4,610 surgeries: 3,412 were a
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; 1,198 involved laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding.

Results show a 30-day rate of death of 0.3 percent; 15 of the people died within a month after surgery, CNN

About 4.3 percent of people had at least one major adverse outcome. Complications included blood clots or the need for another surgery.

But obstructive sleep apnea made surgery riskier; people with OSA were more likely to have a major problem in the month after surgery. About half of the people in the study had OSA.

NIDDK warns that long-term complications also can occur with bariatric surgery. These include malnutrition and hernias.

There also is a 10 percent chance of unsatisfactory weight loss. Some people also regain much of the weight they lose after surgery.

AASM recommends bariatric surgery as an optional treatment for severe obesity and sleep apnea. But it should only be used along with CPAP therapy, the treatment of choice for OSA.

Contact an AASM–accredited sleep center to discuss all treatment options for OSA.

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