(HealthDay News) — For many obese Americans, weight-loss surgery may lead to anemia, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Surgery.

The study of US veterans was led by Dan Eisenberg, MD, a bariatric surgeon at the Stanford School of Medicine in California. The research included 74 patients (78% men; average age, 51 years) who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) at a single Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The overall rate of anemia before surgery was 20%, the team noted, but by 10 years after surgery that number had risen to 47%. Follow-up care was crucial, however. Anemia was much more common among patients who did not have close follow-up with a weight-loss surgeon. For these patients, anemia rates rose from 22% before surgery to 57% a decade later. In comparison, for patients who did consult regularly with their weight-loss physician, anemia rates were 13% before surgery and 19% a decade later.

“Our study suggests that follow-up with bariatric specialists more than five years after surgery, rather than with specialists with no bariatric expertise, can decrease long-term anemia risk,” the authors write. “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.”

Related Articles

Reference

Chen GL, Kubat E, Eisenberg D. Prevalence of Anemia 10 Years After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass in a Single Veterans Affairs Medical Center. JAMA Surg. Published online September 20, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.3158