Sleep Disorders
Surgical weight loss does not eliminate sleep apnea
Aug 15, 2008 - 12:42:25 PM

Washington, Aug 15 - Weight loss by surgery might not really help those with obstructive sleep apnea that merrily continues in moderate or severe forms even a year later, according to a study.

Results suggest that it is the severity of the condition, rather than a patient's pre-surgical weight, that determines if the condition will be resolved.

Bariatric - surgery reduced body mass index - from an average of 51 to 32 in 24 adults with obstructive sleep apnea -. At the one-year follow-up, however, only one participant experienced its resolution and the majority of the study group - still had moderate to severe OSA.

Patients who have residual OSA after surgery are encouraged to maintain ongoing treatment with continuous positive airway pressure - therapy.

The prevalence of OSA among obese individuals is high and correlates with increasing BMI; among the severely obese, the prevalence of OSA ranges from 55 percent to 90 percent.

OSA itself may promote weight gain through ineffective sleep, impaired glucose metabolism and imbalances of leptin, ghrelin and orexin levels.

'We were surprised by the severity of the residual sleep apnea in postoperative patients,' said principal investigator Christopher J. Lettieri at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre. 'The majority of individuals still had moderate to severe OSA.'

'The second surprising finding of this study was that despite the persistence and severity of the disease, most people thought their sleep apnea was resolved after their weight loss and only a few still used CPAP,' he said.

According to Lettieri, weight loss has many overall benefits; however, most people should not assume their OSA will be resolved after they have lost weight.

The study was published on Friday in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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