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Bariatric surgery turns back kidney disease

Bariatric surgery leads to reduced symptoms of chronic kidney disease
Surgery leads to reduced blood pressure and resolution of diabetes, two main causes of kidney disease

Severely obese patients with chronic kidney disease saw significant improvements in their condition within one year of bariatric surgery, in a new study presented at the ASMBS’ 29th Annual Meeting.

Patients in the study, called ‘Improved Renal Function 12 Months After Bariatric Surgery’, went from having moderate kidney disease to mild kidney disease, or from mild kidney disease to normal function, within one year.

“With bariatric surgery we are attacking the two main culprits of chronic kidney disease – high blood sugar and high blood pressure,” said study co-author Wei-Jei Lee, from Min-Sheng General Hospital and National Taiwan University Hospital.

“However, this study suggests the earlier we treat chronic kidney disease in the disease process with bariatric surgery, the more favourable the impact on the kidney.”

The study included 233 patients who were on average 33 years old and had a BMI of 39.5. Around 20% of the patients in the study had mild to moderate chronic kidney disease, and 25% of patients had hyperfiltration, a precursor to the disease.

More than 90% had type 2 diabetes and almost 50% had hypertension – the two main causes of chronic kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Dr Lee and his co-investigators found that the patients’ glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a test used to check kidney function, improved regardless of the initial state of the patient’s kidneys. GFR rose from 81.0 to 98.6ml/min in the mild disease group, and from 49.3 to 66.8ml/min in the moderate disease group. Ordinarily, GFR ranges from 90 – 120ml/min.

 Patients in the study who had hyperfiltration, a precursor condition to kidney disease, saw their GFR drop from an average of 146.5 to 133ml/min.

Study co-authors from Min-Sheng General Hospital and National Taiwan University Hospital included Chun-Cheng Hou, MD, Shu-Chu Chen, RN, Professor Yi-Chih Lee, Jung-Chien Chen, MD, and Kong-Han Ser, MD.

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