Bariatric surgery for severely obese teens may help prevent premature heart disease

American Heart Association Meeting Report – Presentation 38 – Session 09

March 23, 2018 Categories: Heart News, Scientific Conferences & Meetings

Study Highlights

  • For teens with severe obesity, the predicted 30-year risk of having a heart disease event, such as a heart attack or stroke, could be cut in half one year after bariatric surgery, according to a modeling study.
  • The model found that reduction in risk could be sustained every year for up to five years after surgery.

Embargoed until 9 a.m. Central Time/10 a.m. Eastern Time, Fri., March 23, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, March 23, 2018 — Bariatric surgery is predicted to cut in half the risk of premature heart disease and stroke in teens with severe obesity, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

The researchers used a model based on research from the Framingham Heart Study that predicts the likelihood of heart disease events over a 30-year period. They found that prior to bariatric surgery the overall risk of a severely obese teen having a fatal or non-fatal heart attack, stroke, heart failure or other heart disease event over a 30-year period was 8 percent on average. One year after surgery, the model predicted that the risk of a heart disease event would be cut in half — to 4 percent overall — and was sustained every year for the five years following surgery.

“This study clearly shows that the benefits of bariatric surgery to treat severe obesity, at least from a cardiovascular event perspective, outweighs the risk of having the surgery. Teens with severe obesity are at high risk for having a premature cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack, stroke, heart failure and others by the time they are 50, which has significant implications in terms of their healthcare costs and their quality of life,” said Justin Ryder, Ph.D., study author and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.

The prediction model was applied to 215 participants of the Teen-Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (Teen-LABS), a study designed to assess the short and longer-term safety and usefulness of bariatric surgery in teens. The teens in the study had average BMI’s – body mass index, a weight-to-height measurement – of 53. In adults, that translates to a 5'5” woman who weighs 320 pounds and a 6' man who weighs 390 pounds. Participants were average age 17 before surgery. Data on gender, age, blood pressure, treatment for high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and weight was collected and analyzed before surgery and annually for five years after surgery.

Bariatric surgery helps obese people lose weight by surgically altering the digestive system. In some cases that means making the stomach smaller, so a sense of fullness is more easily achieved, or shortening the intestines so that less food is absorbed. Previous studies have shown that bariatric surgery results in substantial weight loss and the reduction of risk factors for heart disease in adults, but little is known about how the reduction in risk factors translates into a reduction of heart disease events, later in life for teens who undergo this procedure.

“These findings add another piece to the mountain of evidence suggesting that bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for sustained reduction of weight and risk factors for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes in teens with severe obesity,” Ryder said.

The researchers note that the study is limited because it uses a prediction model that estimates the likelihood of having a heart disease event but does not measure true events.

Co-authors are Peixin Xu, M.S.; Changchun Xie, Ph.D.; Todd M. Jenkins, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Thomas H. Inge, M.D., Ph.D.; Aaron S. Kelly, Ph.D.; and Elaine M. Urbina, M.D. The authors report no disclosures on the abstract.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Additional Resources:

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

###

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries and AHA Spokesperson Perspective: 214-706-1173

Darcy Spitz; 212-878-5940; darcy.spitz@heart.org or Carrie Thacker; 214-706-1665; c.thacker@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org