General surgery

The study find that the Bariatric Surgery-2 (LABS-2); a prospective, observational study of patients undergoing weight-loss surgery at one of 10 hospitals across the United States. Therefore The death rate from drug and alcohol relate causes in people who’ve had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is nearly triple that of the general public; but according to University of Pittsburgh research publish today in Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases; Because the journal of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery

The study also found that fewer than half of those who died had triggered a safety protocol for problematic substance use. Only one of those who died is know to have received treatment for substance use disorder. Reflecting typical bariatric surgery patients; the majority of study participants were female (79%) and white (86%). At time of surgery, the median age was 46 years old.

During the seven-year follow-up, 10 of the participants died of causes directly related to drug and alcohol-use; with six unintentional drug overdoses, one intentional overdose; one overdose where the intent was unknown and two deaths from alcoholic liver disease. All 10 participants had undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, which reduces the size of the stomach and shortens the intestine; and accounted for 72% of the bariatric procedures in the study sample.

A safety protocol

The team looked at the deaths in terms of “person-years;” a scientific measure that takes into account both the number of people in a study and the amount of time each person spends in the study. The drug and alcohol related death rate was 89 deaths per 100,000 person-years for the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery patients, compared to 30.5 deaths per 100,000 person-years for the general population matched on age; sex, race and calendar year.

On average, the deaths occurred nearly five years post-surgery. “While drug- and alcohol-related deaths were too rare to identify risk factors, it is noteworthy that the demographics of those who died were similar to the full sample. Based on demographics; bariatric surgery patients should be a low-risk group for substance-related death;” said senior author Wendy King, Ph.D., associate professor in the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology.

Substance related death

“Laboratory studies indicate that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass changes the way the body reacts to alcohol and drugs, and our previous work demonstrates an increased risk of self-reported problematic alcohol use and illicit drug use following this surgery. This study indicates such problems can lead to loss of life.

“In addition to research to better understand the reasons for the high death rate, the scientists suggest that new clinical screening tools, tailored specifically to bariatric surgery patients, are needed so clinicians can better detect patients at high risk for substance use problems.