Bariatric surgery and the weight loss that follows it can significantly allow the heart to return to its natural shape and function in people who were once overweight. According to researchers, one year after undergoing bariatric surgery, they found significant improvements in patients’ heart health.
Lead study author Raul J. Rosenthal from the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida said that the cardiovascular system is significantly affected by this disease process.
When a person is overweight, the heart has to generate more force to pump even more blood throughout the body. This extra workload causes the heart muscle to grow bigger.
The authors explained that a bigger heart muscle does not mean a stronger heart, but in fact, the larger the heart is, the less efficacious it is at fulfilling its functions.
The team reviewed data on 51 obese men and women who underwent bariatric surgery between 2010 and 2015.
The analysis included factors such as BMI and coexisting health problems.
The average age of the patients was 61 years and the average body mass index (BMI) was 40, which means that the person is about 100 pounds (45 Kg) overweight.
To better understand the impact of the bariatric operation and weight loss on heart health, the team compared pre-operative and post-operative echocardiography readings.
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that measures not only its size and geometry, but also its function.
The results suggested that nearly half of the patients had hearts that had gone back to their natural shape or geometry.
They also found that there was a significant improvement in the size of the ventricles: on average these chambers of the heart decreased in size by 15.7 percent (left ventricle mass: 229 grams before surgery; 193 grams after surgery. Left ventricular wall diameter: 60.1 mm before surgery; 53.7 mm after surgery.)
The new findings were presented at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2017.