Regarding Alcohol Use and Health Risks: Survey Results

| June 2, 2007

Dear Bariatric Times Editor:

I noted with interest the article by Cynthia Buffington, PhD, entitled, “Alcohol Use and Health Risks: Survey Results,” which appeared in the March 2007 issue of Bariatric Times.[1] Recent inquiries to the International Bariatric Surgery Registry (IBSR) from patients or family members have been requests for information regarding the incidence of alcoholism following bariatric surgery.

Long-term follow-up is very hard to obtain, but one means of obtaining death outcome for the IBSR is through a National Death Index search.[2] The survivorship study conducted in 2003 provided unpublished information regarding underlying cause of death past 30 days for 609 bariatric patients. The results indicated the percentage of deaths attributed to alcoholism (1.8%), suicide (6.4%), or accidental poisoning from drugs and alcohol (4.6%). In 2006, Dong, et al., reported a strong association between attempted suicide and extreme obesity.[3] In spite of weight loss, Omalu, et al., reported depression could still lead to suicide.[4]

These findings point to the need to extend the IBSR mortality study an additional four years to obtain sufficient long-term cause of death data for publication. Long-term mortality results, in sufficient quantity, will help patients and providers identify treatment options needed long after the surgical procedure has occurred.

REFERENCES
1. Buffington CK. Alcohol use and health risks: Survey results. Bariatric Times 2007;4(2);1,21–3.
2. Zhang W, Mason EE, Renquist KE, et al. Factors influencing survival following treatment of obesity. Obes Surg 2005;15:43–50.
3. Dong C, Li WD, Price RA. Extreme obesity is associated with attempted suicides: Results from a family study. Int J Obes 2006;30(2):388–90.
4. Omalu BI, Cho P, Shakir AM, Agumadu UH, et al. Case Report: Suicides following bariatric surgery for the treatment of obesity. SOARD 2005;1(4):447–9.

Best regards,
Kathleen Renquist, BS
IBSR Manager, University of Iowa, Department of Surgery, 4125 WL, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178; Phone: (319) 335-8917 or (319) 356-8361.

Category: Letters to the Editor, Past Articles

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