Bariatric Surgery Shortens QTc in Obese Patients


PHOENIX — Weight loss following bariatric bypass surgery lowered heart rates and resolved most QTc abnormalities in the electrocardiograms of 100 patients in a retrospective study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the Obesity Society.

Dr. Philippe Gilbert reported men and women had significantly slower heart rates at 22 months of follow-up. In men, greater weight loss correlated with reductions in QTc interval. Although women also had shorter QTc intervals as a group after surgery, this did not correlate with weight loss.

Bariatric surgery is associated with improvements in comorbidities associated with metabolic syndrome. Dr. Gilbert, a cardiologist at Hôpital Laval in Quebec City, said he and his coinvestigators decided to look at its impact on electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities because obese patients have “a 1.6-fold increase of sudden death caused by cardiac arrhythmias.”

They reviewed 100 consecutive patients who underwent biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch from January 2000 to July 2001. The population comprised 32 men and 68 women, who were on average aged 40 and 43 years, respectively, at baseline. Changes in weight, body mass index, heart rate, and QTc before and after surgery were statistically significant for both genders.

Among the men, heart rate went from 83 to 62 beats per minute and QTc fell from 428 to 411 milliseconds. Among the women, heart rate went from 79 to 62 beats per minute, and QTc from 430 to 410 milliseconds.

The reductions in QTc correlated with the amount of weight loss in men, but not in women. In each sex, Dr. Gilbert noted, only one patient did not have a normal QTc after surgery.

Dr. Gilbert and his coinvestigators said they have no conflicts of interest.

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