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Weight-Loss Surgery Cuts Heart Risk 7 Years Later: Study
Date:6/20/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Seven years after they underwent weight-loss surgery, patients as a whole fared better on several measurements of their risk of cardiac problems, a new study finds, and many returned to normal levels.

The findings don't prove that weight-loss surgery reduces the risk of events such as heart attack and stroke, although other research has suggested it does. And weight-loss surgery, which includes procedures such as gastric bypass, comes with major risks of its own and is only recommended for some severely obese patients.

Still, the findings suggested the procedure provided plenty of cardiac benefit to the patients, said study co-author Dr. John Morton, director of bariatric surgery and surgical quality at Stanford University School of Medicine. "For most of them, they came back to normal," he said. "There were roughly about a dozen measurements altogether, and there were substantial improvements across the board."

Weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, aims to help severely obese people lose weight by shrinking the amount of food that their digestive systems can handle. The cost of the procedures ranges from $20,000 to $25,000, according to the Weight-Control Information Network of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

A Swedish study published in January in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that the procedure reduces the risk of death from heart attack. Obese people who had the procedure were less likely than similar people to die from a cardiovascular problem (such as a heart attack) or suffer a first-time heart attack or stroke.

The new study looked at several measurements that indicate whether a person is at higher risk of cardiac problems, including levels of "bad" LDL and "good" HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and a specific protein.

The researchers tracked 182 patien
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