A recent study shows that even though the effectiveness of bariatric surgery (also known as weight-loss surgery) has been shown, the effect of the procedure on OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) is negligible. A research team from the Alfred Hospital, the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and the Alfred Hospital, in Australia, compared the effect of surgical intervention and medically supervised weight loss programs on OSA. The paper, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows the results of the worlds first high-quality randomized trial conducted on severely obese individuals.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is an illness that affects almost 5% of the population of Australia. The main event of this disorder consists in several abnormal breathing pauses that occur during a sleep cycle. These pauses can last from a few seconds to a few minutes and can be diagnosed through the use of a method called polysomnography. One of the causes of OSA is the obstruction of the upper airways caused by the accumulation of body fat around the neck level.
The leading authors of the study are associate professor John Dixon, from the Monash University and professor and sleep specialist Matthew Naughton from the Monash and Alfred Hospital. The selection criteria for the trialled subjects were an earlier diagnose of moderate or sever Obstructive Sleep Apnea and a BMI (Body Mass Index) ranging between 35 and 55. These patients were divided into two groups, each following either the surgical or the conventional weight loss method, and were followed for two years, on a monthly basis.
Results showed that the group of patients who underwent LAGB (Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding) managed to lose almost 20% of their initial weight, on average. The group of patients who participated in a conventional weight loss program only lost 3% of their initial weight. Dixon said that this impressive difference in weight loss does not have an effect of OSA. Improvements in OSA were monitored through the use of polysomnography.
“Both groups experienced a reduction in OSA severity, but the difference between the surgical group and the conventional group was surprisingly small”, said professor Dixon. He added that most of the patients from both groups still required a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.
The research team concluded that even though weight loss is directly associated with the reduction of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the effects vary from one individual to another. According to the research team, the best improvement shown in OSA was associated with a light weight loss, instead of an excessive weight loss.
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