New research was recently presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, or the ASMBS, from June 17-22 in San Diego. The features below highlight just some of the studies that emerged from the meeting.

Heart Attack Risk Low After Gastric Bypass

The Particulars: Obesity has been identified in the medical literature as a leading preventable risk factor for heart disease. Prior research has also shown that gastric bariatric surgery appears to be an effective, long-lasting treatment for morbid obesity and many related conditions.

Data Breakdown: Following gastric bypass surgery, a team of Stanford University researchers analyzed changes in 11 cardiac risk factors that have previously been shown to increase the likelihood of future heart attacks or coronary artery disease. In about 7 years of follow-up, patients experienced a 56% loss of excess weight, a 40% increase in HDL levels, a 66% decrease in fasting insulin levels, and a 55% decrease in triglycerides. Gastric bariatric surgery patients also experienced an 80% decrease in high sensitivity C-reactive protein levels and a 40% decrease in Framingham Risk Score.

Take Home Pearl: At up to 7 years, 11 risk factors for heart attack appear to remain low following gastric bypass surgery.

Bariatric Surgery Leads to Remission of Diabetic Nephropathy

The Particulars: Nearly 7 million Americans have diabetic kidney disease, a figure that has increased by 34% from 20 years ago. Researchers have hypothesized that bariatric surgery may halt the progression of diabetic nephropathy.

Data Breakdown: In a study, nearly 60% of obese patients who had diabetic nephropathy prior to undergoing bariatric surgery were in remission at 5 years follow-up. Among those without nephropathy prior to surgery, just 25% eventually developed the complication. This incidence rate was 50% less than that of non-surgically treated patients with diabetes.

Take Home Pearls: Many obese patients with diabetes appear to achieve remission from diabetic nephropathy following bariatric surgery. The surgery may also prevent diabetic nephropathy from occurring in a subset of patients with diabetes.

Factors in Diabetes Remission Following Bariatric Surgery

The Particulars: Previous studies have indicated that gastric bypass surgery causes physiological changes in the body that help improve type 2 diabetes even before significant weight loss is achieved. It is not well known, however, if the surgery can help patients achieve remission of their diabetes and which patients are most likely to achieve remission.

Data Breakdown: A study analyzed remission rates of 139 gastric bypass patients who required medication to manage their type 2 diabetes prior to surgery. At 1 year after bariatric surgery, 67% of patients had achieved remission. Importantly, patients who were not already taking insulin and did not have reduced pancreatic function achieved a 96% remission rate. Patients’ weight before surgery and weight loss at 6 weeks and 1 year did not impact remission rates in the analysis.

Take Home Pearls: Bariatric surgery appears to help patients with type 2 diabetes achieve remission from their disease. Patients who do not require insulin and have normal pancreatic function appear more likely to achieve remission from type 2 diabetes than others.