Gastric Bypass Linked to Improved Survival Rate Over 35

It’s not uncommon for people who are getting a little older to be concerned about whether or not bariatric surgery is a safe and viable solution for them. While there are plenty of factors that come into play, being obese and over 35 years of age may be a very good reason to look further into your options.

A new study has found that gastric bypass surgery may improve the long-term survival rate for patients between the ages of 35 and 74, as compared to obese people in the same age group.

Lance E. Davidson, PhD of the department of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University and his fellow researchers studied 7,925 patients who had gastric bypass between 1984 and 2002, and 7,925 similarly obese patients who did not undergo weight loss surgery, but matched the gender and body mass index (BMI) of the patients before their surgeries. Here are some of the key findings:

Over a period of seven years, the surgery patients who were 35 to 44 years old were 46 percent less likely to die from any cause than people who did not undergo surgery.
People who were between 45 and 54 years old had a 57 percent lower risk of death
People between 55 and 74 years old had about a 50 percent reduced risk of death.

The stable survival rate with the older group can be connected to the fact that as people get older, obesity poses a bigger health threat.

In an editorial that accompanied the study, Malcolm K Robinson, MD, of the department of surgery, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts stated that since bariatric surgeons exclude high risk patients from surgery, it may have created a bias towards the surgery group. However, he went on to say “the magnitude of the beneficial effect of gastric-bypass surgery on mortality is so stark that it is hard to solely attribute the authors’ findings to a selection bias alone.”

Dr. Davidson disagreed with the bias concerns and reaffirms the clinical implications that come from the study: “Mortality is drastically reduced for obese patients who undergo gastric-bypass surgery across a broad age range.

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