David Arterburn, MD, MPH Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Seattle, WA 

Diabetes: Microvascular Complications Markedly Decreased After Bariatric Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Arterburn, MD, MPH Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Seattle, WA 

Dr. Arterburn

David Arterburn, MD, MPH
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Seattle, WA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: More than 9 percent of adult Americans—about 30 million people—are estimated to have type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. The disease tends to worsen over time, with blood sugar levels rising along with the risks of developing large blood vessel (macrovascular) complications like heart attack and stroke, as well as small blood vessel (microvascular) complications affecting the nerves of the feet and hands (neuropathy), kidneys (nephropathy), and eyes (retinopathy).

Among more than 4000 patients who underwent bariatric surgery, the 5-year incidence of microvascular disease — including neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy — was nearly 60% lower than that of 11,000 matched nonsurgical control patients receiving usual diabetes care. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: These results suggest that everyone with diabetes and severe obesity should have a conversation with their doctor about whether bariatric surgery is a reasonable treatment option for their them, weighing the risks and benefits 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future research should seek to understand why so few patient with diabetes undergo bariatric procedures each year, given the mounting evidence that bariatric surgery is associated with better long-term diabetes outcomes and better long-term survival.

Disclosure: This research was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney diseases (NIDDK)


O’Brien R, Johnson E, Haneuse S, Coleman KJ, O’Connor PJ, Fisher DP, et al. Microvascular Outcomes in Patients With Diabetes After Bariatric Surgery Versus Usual Care: A Matched Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 7 August 2018] doi: 10.7326/M17-2383

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Last Updated on August 18, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD