According to a study published in JAMA Surgery, researchers discovered a significant proportion of anemia 10 years after patients got Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, implying that long-term follow-up with a bariatric specialist is critical to lowering the risk of anemia.
Anemia is characterized by a lack of red blood cells. Anemia is diagnosed by a low hemoglobin or hematocrit level on a standard blood test. The major protein in your red blood cells is hemoglobin. It transports and distributes oxygen throughout your body.
Your hemoglobin level will be low if you have anemia. It’s possible that your tissues or organs won’t get enough oxygen if it’s low enough. Anemia causes symptoms like weariness and shortness of breath because your organs aren’t getting the nutrients they need to function properly.
The risks of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), such as mineral and vitamin deficiencies, have been widely established. Dan Eisenberg, M.D., M.S., of the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System and Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., and colleagues looked at the prevalence of anemia 10 years after RYGB and if postoperative bariatric follow-up affects anemia rates.
74 patients (78 percent men; average age 51 years) had RYGB at a single Veterans Affairs Medical Center were included in the research.
The average rate of preoperative anemia was 20%; 10 years after RYGB, the percentage had risen to 47%. The anemia rate in the group without bariatric specialist follow-up climbed to 57 percent ten years after RYGB, up from 22 percent before surgery.
Our study suggests that follow-up with bariatric specialists more than 5 years after surgery, rather than with specialists with no bariatric expertise, can decrease long-term anemia risk. This finding may demonstrate the bariatric specialist’s specific understanding of the long-term risk for nutritional deficiency after RYGB and the importance of vitamin and mineral supplementation.
After ten years, the rate of anemia in the group with bariatric expert follow-up did not significantly rise (19 percent vs 13 percent). Anemia comes in a variety of types, each with its unique etiology. Anemia can be short-term or long-term, and it can be mild or severe. Anemia is caused by a variety of factors in the majority of cases.
Compared with patients with bariatric specialist follow-up, patients without bariatric specialist follow-up had significantly higher odds of anemia at 10 years after adjusting for preoperative anemia.
The size of the group with bariatric specialist follow-up, which may be too small to detect a significant change in 10-year anemia rates compared to preoperative rates, was a major drawback of this study. Anemia treatments vary depending on the reason and range from taking vitamins to undergoing medical procedures.
“Our study suggests that follow-up with bariatric specialists more than 5 years after surgery, rather than with specialists with no bariatric expertise, can decrease long-term anemia risk. This finding may demonstrate the bariatric specialist’s specific understanding of the long-term risk for nutritional deficiency after RYGB and the importance of vitamin and mineral supplementation,” the authors write.