High anemia risk persists decades after bariatric surgery
Nutritional deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies, are potential adverse consequences of bariatric surgery. Long-term data on anaemia after bariatric surgery are largely lacking. We aimed to investigate the risk of anaemia, iron and vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, and vitamin B12 deficiency over 20 years in individuals who had bariatric surgery or received usual obesity care.

The prospective, controlled Swedish Obese Subjects study recruited people with obesity via recruitment campaigns in the mass media and at primary health-care centres, and was done at 480 primary health-care centres and in 25 surgical departments in Sweden. Eligible participants were aged 37–60 years and had a BMI of either 34 kg/m2 or more (for men) or 38 kg/m2 or more (for women). Participants were excluded if they had undergone previous bariatric surgery or had contraindicating conditions. Two main groups were formed: those who chose bariatric surgery, the type of which was determined by the operating surgeon, and a contemporaneously matched control group, created by use of 18 matching variables, who received usual non-surgical obesity care that ranged from lifestyle advice to no treatment.

Haemoglobin concentration was measured during examination visits at baseline and at 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 6 years, 8 years, 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years of follow-up. Anaemia was defined as a haemoglobin concentration of less than 120 g/L for women and 130 g/L for men. The primary, non-specified outcome was the incidence of anaemia, and was assessed in the as-treated population, which comprised only patients who received the actual treatment. The associations between treatment type and anaemia are expressed as unadjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and HRs adjusted for age, sex, BMI, menopausal status, education, diabetes, and hypertension, with 95% CIs.

6905 individuals were assessed for eligibility, of whom 5335 were eligible. Of these, we included 2007 patients who chose bariatric surgery (266 in the gastric bypass group, 1365 in the vertical-banded gastroplasty group, and 376 in the gastric banding group) and 2040 matched controls who received usual obesity care. During a maximum of 20 years and a median of 10 years (IQR 3–20) of follow-up, there were 133 anaemia events in the gastric bypass group, 359 in the vertical-banded gastroplasty group, 101 in the gastric banding group, and 261 in the control group.

Compared with the control group (13 cases per 1000 person-years), the incidence of anaemia was higher in the gastric bypass group (64 cases per 1000 person-years), the vertical-banded gastroplasty group (23 cases per 1000 person-years), and the gastric banding group (26 per 1000 person-years). These associations remained after adjustment.

These findings highlight the increased risk of anaemia after bariatric surgery and the importance of long-term compliance to nutritional supplementation and monitoring to enable prevention and early detection of serious nutritional deficiencies after bariatric surgery.

Source: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(21)00141-8/fulltext