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A quarter of diabetes patients still 'cured' six years after bariatric surgery

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Almost a third of obese patients with type 2 diabetes who have had bariatric surgery remain ‘cured’ of the disease six years after surgery, according to a study published today in Annals of Surgery.

US researchers went back and examined the clinical outcomes of 217 patients with type 2 diabetes who underwent bariatric surgery between 2004 and 2007 and had at least 5 years of follow-up. Almost 75% underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), with 15% undergoing gastric banding and 10% sleeve gastrectomy.

Long-term complete remission occurred in 24% of patients, and partial remission in 26% of patients. In addition, a further 34% of patients improved their long-term diabetes control compared with presurgery status. There were 16% of patients who remained unchanged.

In an additional finding the researchers describe as “remarkable”, diabetic nephropathy either improved or was completely resolved.

Meanwhile another study from the US- published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology - suggest a new scoring system can accurately predict which obese diabetes patients are most likely to benefit from bariatric surgery. The DiaRem tool uses four variables -  insulin use, age, HbA1c level and type of antidiabetic drugs - to score patients from 0 to 22.

The study of 691 patients found remission rates were 88% of those with a score of 0–2, 64% with 3–7, 23% with 8–12, 11% with 13–17, and 2% with 18–22 points.

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