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'Quick fix' weight-loss op patients ignore risk

STOMACH-stapling is being seen as a 'quick fix' to solving obesity problems. A new report found that many patients undergo weight-loss operations without properly assessing the risks. More attention should be paid to pre-surgery counselling.



The report, conducted by the UK National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (Ncepod), examined the care given to 381 patients.

The authors said that only a third of patients had received psychological counselling before referral for surgery.

And 24pc of consent forms did not contain appropriate information.



Procedures

They also found that 32pc of patients did not receive adequate follow-up after surgery, and nearly a fifth of patients had to be readmitted to hospital, often needing surgery.

The number of bariatric weight-loss procedures -- such as a gastric bypass or the fitting of gastric bands or balloons -- rose by 70pc between 2008 and 2010, Ncepod said.

Between 2008 and 2009 there were 4,200 surgeries in England; this soared to 7,200 between 2009 and 2010.

"Bariatric surgery is a radical procedure with considerable risks, as well as benefits," said Ian Martin, the report's co-author and Ncepod clinical co-ordinator in surgery.

"It shouldn't be undertaken without providing full information and support to patients. But, when we reviewed cases we found examples of inadequate processes from start to finish."

But separate research out today states that if obese patients undergo bariatric surgery, they can quickly reduce risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

The research, published in the journal Heart, says the impact of such surgery is greater and faster than drug treatments for weight management or diabetes, and in some cases could be life-saving.

hnews@herald.ie


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