This time of year many people make resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle, exercise more, lose weight and eat better. For the adolescents who are extremely obese in this country, diet and exercise alone often are not enough to get their weight down. Some of those teens will require weight loss surgery to improve their overall health. According to a recent study published in the January print issue of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, bariatric surgery in extremely obese adolescents also was shown to be beneficial in helping to reverse previously undiagnosed cardiovascular abnormalities believed to be linked to severe obesity.
The study included a retrospective analysis of 10 adolescent patients (nine female) from Nationwide Children's Hospital who underwent weight loss surgery between August and December 2008. High fidelity imaging using cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) was performed on these patients in the months leading up to bariatric surgery and revealed heart abnormalities (such as increased left ventricular mass, left ventricular dilation, hypertension) in all patients.
"What we found was that the cardiac structure and function in these extremely obese adolescents scheduled for bariatric surgery, was much more impaired than one might have thought," said study co-author John Bauer, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "In addition, more than half of the patients we looked at had significant cardiac abnormalities that would be on par with a middle-aged person with real cardiovascular disease risk in the short term."
Within the first post-operative year (mean range of 7-13 months), patients were re-evaluated using CMR. Results showed that their previously recorded cardiovascular abnormalities were reversed.