Key clinical point: Obese adolescents and adults who had bariatric surgery had similar overall weight loss at 5-year follow-up, but the younger cohort had higher remission of type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Major finding: Adolescents were more likely than were adults to have remission of type 2 diabetes (86% vs. 53%; risk ratio, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.57; P = .03) as well as hypertension (68% vs. 41%; risk ratio, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.21 to 1.88; P less than .001).
Study details: Observational cohort studies of 5-year outcomes in 161 adolescents and 395 adults who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
Disclosures: The study and several of its authors were supported by grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Several authors reported receiving grants, honoraria, and consulting fees from medical technology and pharmaceutical companies.
Inge TH et al. N Engl J Med. 2019 May 16. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1813909.
For obese adolescents, making a decision with lifelong consequences, as is the case with bariatric surgery, should still be handled on a case-by-case basis, according to Ted D. Adams, PhD, of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.
In general, treatment approaches for children and adults differ because of their physiological and psychological differences, but that does not apply in the case of obesity, wrote Dr. Adams, who noted the similarities in obesity across age groups. In addition, he said, most adolescents who are obese remain obese into adulthood, and obese adults who were obese when they were younger face worse outcomes than do those who become obese in adulthood.
As such, this study from Dr. Inge and his colleagues is clinically important given the prevalence of obesity in the United States and a step in the right direction. However, Dr. Adams acknowledged concerns over certain elements, including the higher rate of abdominal reoperations in adolescents during the 5-year postsurgery period.
For now, a case-by-case basis remains his recommendation. “More complete data will be required to fully inform clinicians, parents, and adolescents whether to embark on surgical intervention or to postpone it,” he wrote, adding that “the 5-year data look promising but ... the lifetime outcome is unknown.”
These comments are adapted from an editorial (N Engl J Med. 2019 May 16. doi: 10.1056/NEJMe1905778 ). Dr. Adams reported receiving grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases as well as the Intermountain Research Foundation and Ethicon Endo-Surgery, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.