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After reviewing data on 347 patients who had undergone bariatric surgery, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that, as patients'weights decreased, so did their systolic and diastolic blood pressures (BPs). The data review included patients' weights, body mass indexes (BMIs), BPs, and use of antihypertensives. Although all patients had a BMI >40 before the surgery, only about half of the patients had hypertension. At 18 months post surgery, patients'BMIs were reduced to ~35, and both systolic and diastolic BPs were significantly decreased. Patients with hypertension who were not taking medications experienced the greatest reduction in BP. Thirty-five of the 103 patients taking BP medications were able to discontinue those medications, and their BPs returned to normal range. The authors note that the findings do not show whether hypertension eventually returns. They suggest a prospective study to determine long-term results. These findings appeared in the March 2006 issue of the Archives of Surgery.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.