Preoperative hemoglobin A1c and postoperative glucose control in outcomes after gastric bypass for obesity

Surg Obes Relat Dis. Nov-Dec 2012;8(6):685-90. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2011.08.002. Epub 2011 Aug 10.


Background: Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a reliable marker for long-term glycemic control in obese diabetic patients. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass improves HbA1c levels over time. However, it is not clear whether the preoperative HbA1c level is a predictor of the outcome in these patients. Our objectives were to understand the predictive capacity of the preoperative HbA1c level in gastric bypass patients at a single university-based Bariatric Center of Excellence.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 468 charts from 2006 to 2009 of patients who had undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Using their preoperative HbA1c status, the patients were categorized and the postoperative outcomes compared.

Results: Of the 468 patients reviewed, 310 (66.2%) had a HbA1c of <6.5% (group 1), 92 (19.4%) had a HbA1c of 6.5-7.9% (group 2), and 66 (14.1%) had a HbA1c level of >8.0% (group 3). No difference was found among the 3 groups in baseline body mass index, race, procedure type, length of stay, hospital cost, and smoking status. Groups 2 and 3 were associated with older age, male gender, and higher baseline creatinine. Groups 2 and 3 also had a proportionally greater inpatient postoperative blood glucose level. An elevated postoperative glucose level was independently associated with wound infection (P = .008) and acute renal failure (P = .04). Also, group 3 experienced worse outcomes, including less weight loss at 18 months and fewer diabetic remissions. Over time, however, the vast majority in all groups achieved excellent chronic glycemic control, with HbA1c <6.5% after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.

Conclusion: Poor preoperative glycemic control is associated with worse glucose level control postoperatively, fewer diabetic remissions, and less weight loss. An elevated mean postoperative glucose level is independently associated with increased morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Obesity, Morbid / blood
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / blood
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A