Can Bariatric Surgery Help (You Avoid Chronic Kidney Disease)?

Bariatric surgery may reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). If you are at risk for CKD, or if you are considering bariatric surgery, here are some important facts for you to consider.

About 26 million adults in the United States struggle with chronic kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation. It is the ninth leading cause of death in this country.

The risk factors for chronic kidney disease include diabetes, obesity, and a family history of kidney disease. Anyone over the age of sixty is also at risk.

Other risk factors for chronic kidney disease include high blood pressure, smoking, and cardiovascular disease.

WHAT IS BARIATRIC SURGERY?

Bariatric surgery is weight loss surgery performed on people who are struggling with obesity.

Weight loss is attained by reducing the size of the stomach, or by the removal of a portion of the stomach, or by re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery).

Studies have shown that bariatric surgery can lead to a significant long-term weight loss, to recovery from diabetes, and to substantial improvement in cardiovascular risk factors.

Obesity has also been linked to the progression and development of CKD, but whether or not bariatric surgery can reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease has been poorly understood – until now.

HOW DO WE KNOW THAT BARIATRIC SURGERY LOWERS THE CKD RISK?

Researchers can now tell us with assurance that bariatric surgery lowers the risk of chronic kidney disease. A newly-published study provides the proof.

Dr. Allon N. Friedman of the Indiana University School of Medicine recently led a team of medical researchers who studied 2,144 adults who’ve undergone bariatric surgery.

The research team published their findings in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The researchers sought to determine if bariatric surgery has any influence on the risk of CKD. The bariatric surgery patients were placed in three CKD risk categories: low, moderate, and high.

Patients in the low-risk category experienced no improvement, but they were already at the lowest risk for CKD. However, patients in the other categories showed marked improvements.

WHICH PATIENTS REDUCED THEIR CKD RISK WITH BARIATRIC SURGERY?

Among patients with moderate CKD risk, 63 percent and 53 percent showed improvement in their CKD risk category (from moderate risk to low risk) at one and seven years, respectively.

Among patients with high chronic kidney disease risk, 78 percent and 56 percent experienced an improvement in their risk category at one and seven years, respectively.

Researchers say their “findings support consideration of CKD risk in evaluation for bariatric surgery and further study of bariatric surgery as a treatment for high-risk patients with CKD.”

The 2,144 study participants had a median age of 46. Women constituted 79 percent of the participants. Most participants – 71 percent – had undergone gastric bypass surgery.

WHAT WERE THE RESEARCHERS’ CONCLUSIONS?

“What is notable,” the researchers wrote, “is that greater weight loss and not the mechanism through which weight loss was achieved … was an independent predictor of reduced CKD risk.”

They also wrote that their findings are “consistent with reports in rats in which equivalent weight loss from surgical or medical interventions led to similar histologic improvements in the kidney.”

The researchers conclude their report by recommending the “further study of bariatric surgery as a treatment for high-risk obese patients with CKD.”

While researchers around the world are making substantial headway in the fight against chronic kidney disease, those already struggling with the disease still must deal with a number of risks.

WHAT IS ONE NOTABLE RISK THAT CKD PATIENTS FACE?

One of those risks is medical malpractice. As noted above, there are 26 million adult chronic kidney disease patients in the United States. That’s a lot of opportunity for medical malpractice.

If you are fighting CKD, have you been misdiagnosed at any point since you began seeking treatment? Have you received improper treatment? Or are you the victim of a surgical mistake?

CKD, when identified early, can be treated and managed, but if a doctor fails to diagnose CKD accurately, or if you receive the wrong treatment, your condition may rapidly deteriorate.

Misdiagnosing CKD or treating chronic kidney disease improperly both constitute medical malpractice.

IF YOU ARE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE VICTIM, WHO CAN HELP?

If you are both a CKD patient and a medical malpractice victim, you are entitled by law to compensation, but you must speak at once with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Medical malpractice costs the United States over $3 billion a year. Several times every day, an innocent person is injured by the carelessness or negligence of a healthcare provider.

For chronic kidney disease patients, medical malpractice can cause unnecessary affliction, deteriorating health, injury, and in some cases, wrongful death.

WILL LEARNING MORE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS COST YOU ANYTHING?

If you’ve been victimized while you were seeking treatment for chronic kidney disease, you should not be concerned with the cost of taking legal action.

Most injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis – you pay nothing unless and until the attorney wins compensation on your behalf.

Most malpractice lawyers also offer a free first legal consultation. The attorney will review your case, and you’ll know precisely where you stand legally.

Thus, if you are a chronic kidney disease patient, and if you believe that you are a victim of medical malpractice, you have nothing to lose by learning more.

HOW ARE MOST MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS HANDLED?

You should also know that 93 percent of medical malpractice claims are settled outside of the courtroom.

Settling out-of-court means that you’ll pay your attorney less because a trial won’t be necessary, and it also means that you’ll be able to avoid the inconvenience of having to appear in court.

Your attorney will work aggressively for every cent of compensation you need. That covers your extra medical expenses and any wages lost due to medical malpractice.

By: Jed Kurzban

Medical malpractice attorney Jed Kurzban graduated from the University of Alabama in 1992 and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 1995. He is a member of the Dade County Bar Association, the Florida Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, and the American Bar Association. Mr. Kurzban is happily married and the father of two.