Bariatric Surgery Fares Better Than Medical Therapy in Diabetic Patients

At 3 years, glycemic control and quality of life were better with 
surgery than with medical management.

In a previously published report from a randomized Cleveland Clinic 
trial, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy were more 
likely than medical therapy (42% and 37% vs. 12%) to lower 
glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels to ≤6% in 150 obese diabetic 
patients (mean age at baseline, 48; mean body-mass index at baseline, 
36 kg/m2) at 1 year (NEJM JW Gen Med Mar 26 2012). Now, the 
researchers present longer-term outcomes.

At 3 years, the proportions of patients whose HbA1c levels were ≤6% 
and who no longer were taking diabetes medications remained 
significantly higher in the gastric-bypass and sleeve-gastrectomy 
groups than in the medical-treatment group (35% and 20% vs. 0%). On 
standardized questionnaires that reflected eight quality-of-life 
domains, scores improved significantly in five domains in the bypass 
group, two domains in the gastrectomy group, and no domains in the 
medical-treatment group. Four surgically treated patients required 
additional surgical interventions to address complications within the 
first year, but no patients required additional surgery thereafter.

Schauer PR et al., N Engl J Med 2014 Mar 31;

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