In patients with severe obesity, albuminuria can be improved by both conventional medical therapy and bariatric surgery. The purpose of this study was to compare the impact of weight loss achieved through conventional medical therapy or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) on albuminuria in Japanese subjects with severe obesity and identify the factors involved.
We retrospectively evaluated the clinical characteristics including the urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (UACR) of 340 consecutive subjects with a body mass index ≥35 who received LSG (n = 242) or medical therapy (n = 98) between 2010 and 2018 and were followed for at least 12 months.
The baseline of the UACR was not different between the 2 groups. At the 12-month follow-up, total weight loss (TWL) and decreases in glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and loge UACR were greater in the LSG group than in the medical therapy group (body weight; -35.7 kg vs. -8.0 kg, p < 0.001, HbA1c; -1.4% vs. -0.7%, p < 0.001, loge UACR; -0.3 vs. 0.9, p < 0.001). The rate of complete remission of diabetes was significantly higher in the LSG group than in the medical therapy group. At 12 and 36 months (n = 111 in the medical therapy group, n = 56 in the LSG group at 36 months), loge UACR increased in the medical therapy group, while it remained unchanged or decreased in the LSG group. In subjects with microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria, changes in the loge UACR correlated with percent total body weight loss (%TWL) in both groups at 12 months. Percent TWL contributed independently to the change in the loge UACR, irrespective of whether LSG was performed. In receiver-operating characteristic analysis, a weight loss of 7.8% predicted a decrease in the UACR (∆UACR <0 at 12 months).
Our analysis suggests that albuminuria may increase over time if only medical therapy is continued. To improve albuminuria, weight loss may be more important than whether LSG is performed.

© 2021 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.