In a study from Rutgers University and elsewhere, scientists found obese adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) could benefit from bariatric surgery for weight loss.
NAFLD is the accumulation of liver fat in people who drink little or no alcohol.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are types of NAFLD. People who have NASH have inflammation and liver damage, along with fat in their livers.
Currently, there are no approved treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) despite its association with obesity and increased risk of heart disease.
Weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is an operation that makes changes to the digestive system.
It is intended for people who have obesity and need to lose weight but have not been able to do so through other means.
Weight-loss surgery can help people lose weight and improve many health problems related to obesity.
Weight-loss surgery may be an option for adults who have severe obesity (a body mass index, BMI, of 40 or more) or people who have a BMI of 35 or more with a serious health problem linked to obesity.
In the study, researchers aimed to examine the association between bariatric surgery and heart disease risk in people with severe obesity and NAFLD.
They used data from the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2017.
Participants included more than 86,000 adults aged 18 to 64 years with NAFLD and severe obesity without a history of bariatric surgery or heart disease before NAFLD diagnosis.
The team found in these individuals, 30,300 (34.8%) underwent bariatric surgery and 56, 664 (65.2%) received nonsurgical care.
In the surgical group, 1568 people had heart attacks or strokes compared with 7215 people in the nonsurgical group.
At the end of the study, bariatric surgery was linked to a 47% lower risk of heart disease and strokes compared with nonsurgical care.
And the risk of blood vessel problems decreased by 50% in people with vs without surgery.
Based on the findings, the team suggests that compared with nonsurgical care, bariatric surgery was linked to a big reduction in heart disease risk in people with severe obesity and NAFLD.
The study was conducted by Vinod K. Rustgi et al and published in JAMA Network Open.
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