CVD risk lowered in obese teens who opt for bariatric surgery

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Severely obese teens who underwent bariatric surgery saw vast improvements in cardiovascular risk factors in the latest installment of the Teen-LABS study, researchers reported this week in Pediatrics.

Teen-LABS (Teen Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery) recruits adolescents across the country for study about the safety and health effects of surgical weight loss in an at-risk population, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which is one of five centers in the U.S. that sponsor the ongoing research.

Marc P. Michalsky, MD, and colleagues found in their most recent trial that individuals who underwent bariatric surgery for weight loss in their teens experienced a reduction in the risk of adverse cardiovascular events. Michalsky said in a release from Nationwide this altered risk profile could be a result of the development and progression of impaired glucose metabolism, atherosclerosis, heart failure and stroke.

“This is the first large-scale analysis of predictors of change in cardiovascular disease risk factors among adolescents following bariatric surgery,” he said. “The study demonstrated early improvement and reduction of cardiometabolic risk factors, offering compelling support for bariatric surgery in adolescents.”

Teens who participated in the study were monitored for blood pressure, lipid levels, glucose homeostasis and inflammation as markers of cardiovascular health and disease risk. Being younger at the time of surgery, being female and increased weight loss were all predictors of more favorable outcomes in the patients.

Three years after the procedure, Michalsky and co-authors reported, it appeared the downward slope of CVD risk was owed not only to bariatric surgery but was also associated with age at the time of surgery, pre-operative BMI, sex and race.

“Although relationships between change in cardiovascular disease risk factors and postoperative weight reduction were not unexpected, we learned younger patients at time of surgery were more likely to experience dyslipidemia remission and normalization of high sensitivity C-reactive protein, suggesting there may be advantages to undergoing bariatric surgery earlier, even among adolescents,” Michalsky said in the release. “The results of the current study from Teen-LABS gain further significance when considering newly published data by investigators at Yale University which highlights the long-term impact of significantly elevated cardiovascular disease risk factors observed among a large sample of severely obese youth compared to less obese study participants.”