Weight loss surgery effective in kidney disease patients, but side effects are high

Kidney disease patients who undergo weight loss surgery can successfully lose weight, but many experience significant side effects, according to a study that will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2013 November 5-10 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.

Weight loss, or bariatric, surgery is currently the most effective treatment for obesity, but recent evidence suggests the may be higher in those with chronic than in those without. To investigate, Helen MacLaughlin (King's College London) and her colleagues conducted a retrospective study of all obese patients with kidney disease who underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery in three major London teaching hospitals from 2007 to 2012.

Information obtained from the 74 patients' medical records revealed that across all forms of surgery, excess weight was lost in 61% of patients one year post-surgery. There were 16 adverse events, including two deaths (3%) related to surgical complications. Acute kidney injury was most frequent (4%), followed by leak (3%), acidosis and elevated blood potassium levels (3%), post-operative chest infection (3%), vitamin B12/iron deficiency (3%), fistula/graft failure (3%), and heart attacks (1%). An additional four deaths occurred during the study period, including two related to cancer.

"While bariatric surgery is effective for weight loss in obese patients with , the adverse event and mortality rates are high," the authors concluded. "Identification of risk factors for adverse events and investigation of non-surgical alternatives remain priorities."

More information: Study: "Safety and Efficacy of Bariatric Surgery in Obese Patients with CKD: The London Renal Obesity Network (LonRON) Experience" (Abstract 3076)

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