March 5, 2012

Weight-loss Surgery Safe for Kidney Disease Patients

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Weight-loss surgery is now proving to be safe for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients who are obese.

The study led by Nicole Turgeon, MD and John Sweeney, MD of Emory University School of Medicine is the largest of its kind to focus on the impact of kidney function on patients' health following weight-loss surgery. Turgeon, Sweeney, and their colleagues analyzed information from 27,736 patients who underwent weight-loss surgery between 2006 and 2008.

They found that patients with more severe CKD experienced more complications following surgery. Complication rates ranged from 4.6% for those with stage 1 CKD or normal kidney function to 9.9% for those with stage 5 CKD.

Even though patients with more severe CKD experienced more complications, complication rates remained below 10%. "This work provides strong evidence that it is safe to proceed with bariatric surgery in kidney failure patients who suffer from obesity," Dr. Sweeney was quoted saying.

The findings are encouraging because maintaining weight loss is challenging for CKD patients, many of whom have a decreased ability to exercise. Also, obesity can limit CKD patients' eligibility for kidney transplants. Whether the potential benefits of weight-loss surgery outweigh the risks in this population requires further study, though.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN), March, 2012