Weight-loss surgery outcomes associated with vitamin D levels

Vitamin D status, seasons and geography may affect outcomes of bariatric surgery, according to recent findings published in Obesity Science & Practice.

Patients who underwent surgery during winter and those who live in the northern U.S. experienced worse outcomes than those undergoing surgery during summer and those living in the south, according to the researchers.

“Sun exposure is critical in the synthesis of vitamin D, so the notion that people living in less sunny northern states may suffer from vitamin D deficiency is not surprising,” Leigh A. Peterson, PhD, MHS, a nutritionist and postdoctoral research fellow at Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery, said in a press release. “What is remarkable is how closely sun exposure, vitamin D and surgical outcomes were linked.”

Peterson and colleagues evaluated data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database on 932,091 bariatric surgeries among adults (median age, 43 years; 81.2% women) between 2001 and 2010 to determine the relationship between surgical outcomes, vitamin D status, season and region in the United States. Seasons were divided into summer (July through September), winter (January through March) and fall/spring (October through December and April through June) and regions were divided into the North ( 37 N) and the South (< 37 N).

Fifty-one percent of surgeries occurred in the fall/spring whereas 26% occurred in the summer and 23% during winter. Sixty-five percent of procedures were performed in the North, particularly in the winter (P < .001).

Adverse outcomes of prolonged length of stay (P < .001) and any complication were more common in the North.

The risks for experiencing suprafascial dehiscence (OR = 1.45-1.49), delayed wound healing (OR = 1.53-1.56), any complication (OR = 1.45-1.46) and length of stay (OR = 1.04-1.05) increased with each season closer to winter.

“The growing rates of obesity and increased popularity of bariatric surgeries mean that primary care clinicians and bariatric surgeons should consider screening their patients and correcting any confirmed vitamin D deficiency,” Peterson said in the release. – by Amber Cox

The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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