Fitness Important to Weight-loss Surgery

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Fitness levels—pre-and post-surgical—may have significant impact on outcomesfollowing obesity surgery, accordingto a recent study published in theAugust issue of Chest. Researchers suggestthat patients planning on havingobesity surgery should be at a certainlevel of fitness before the operation.Currently, no standard has been set toassess a surgical candidate's potentialfor complications, but lead author PeterA. McCullough, MD, MPH, of WilliamBeaumont Hospital in Michigan believesthat fitness levels should be a consideration.Dr. McCullough and his team followed109 patients preparing for Rouxen-Y gastric bypass surgery. Their fitnesslevels were determined by treadmilltests before surgery to show how wellthe heart, lungs, and blood vessels wouldperform under stress. Among thosepatients who exhibited poor levels of fitness,almost 17% suffered serious shorttermcomplications from the surgery,including kidney failure or blood clots;one patient had a stroke and anotherdied. Of the patients who were deemedthe most fit, less than 3% experiencedcomplications and none of them died. Dr.McCullough feels that fitness tests couldchange the way obesity surgery isapproached. Once a fitness test indicatesa potentially high-risk patient, the physiciancan prescribe an exercise andweight-loss plan that could get thepatient through the surgery. While manyobese patients have poor levels of fitness,according to Dr. McCullough, manypatients who have only mild impairmentscould realize a difference withactivities such as walking.

Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.