Conference Coverage

The case for bariatric surgery to manage CV risk in diabetes



– For patients with obesity and metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes (T2D), it may be hard to best bariatric surgery for optimizing cardiovascular and metabolic health over the lifespan.

“Behavioral changes in diet and activity may be effective over the short term, but they are often ineffective over the long term,” said Daniel L. Hurley, MD. By contrast, “Bariatric surgery is very effective long-term,” he said.

At the annual clinical and scientific meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Dr. Hurley made the case for bariatric surgery in effective and durable management of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk, weighing risks and benefits for those with higher and lower levels of obesity.

Speaking during a morning session focused on bariatric surgery, Dr. Hurley, an endocrionologist at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., noted that bariatric surgery reduces not just weight, but also visceral adiposity. This, he said, is important when thinking about type 2 diabetes (T2D), because diabetes prevalence has climbed in the United States as obesity has also increased, according to examination of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Additionally, increased abdominal adiposity is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular-related deaths, myocardial infarctions, and all-cause deaths. Some of this relationship is mediated by T2D, which itself “is a major cause of cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Hurley.

From a population health perspective, the increased prevalence of T2D – expected to reach 10% in the United States by 2030 – will also boost cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, said Dr. Hurley. Those with T2D die 5 to 10 years earlier, and have double the risk for heart attack and stroke of their peers without diabetes. The risk of lower limb amputation can be as much as 40 times greater for an individual with T2D across the lifespan, he said.

The National Institutes of Health recognizes bariatric surgery as an appropriate weight loss therapy for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35 kg/m2 and comorbidity. Whether bariatric surgery might be appropriate for individuals with T2D and BMIs of less than 35 kg/m2 is less settled, though at least some RCTs support the surgical approach, said Dr. Hurley.


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