Background: Obesity is a major public health problem leading to co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure. Bariatric surgery results in pronounced and maintained weight loss and prevention of obesity-related diseases and their complications. Most studies of bariatric surgery on kidney disease show improvements after surgery. However, long-term studies analyzing hard end-points are lacking. Here we report on the long-term effects of bariatric surgery compared to usual obesity care on incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) alone and in combination with chronic kidney disease stage 4 (CKD4/ESRD).
Methods: 4047 patients were included in the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study. Inclusion criteria were age 37-60 years and BMI ≥ 34 in men and BMI ≥ 38 in women. Patients in the bariatric surgery group (N = 2010) underwent banding (18%), vertical banded gastroplasty (69%), or gastric bypass (13%); controls (N = 2037) received usual obesity care. In this analysis, patients were followed up for a median time of 18 years. The incidence of ESRD and CKD4 was obtained by crosschecking the SOS database with the Swedish National Patient Register.
Results: During follow-up, ESRD occurred in 13 patients in the surgery group and in 26 patients in the control group (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 0.27; 95% CI 0.12-0.60; p = 0.001). The number of CKD4/ESRD events was 23 in the surgery group and 39 in the control group (adjusted HR = 0.33; 95% CI 0.18-0.62; p < 0.001). In both analyses, bariatric surgery had a more favorable effect in patients with baseline serum insulin levels above median compared to those with lower insulin levels (interaction p = 0.010). Treatment benefit of bariatric surgery was also greater in patients with macroalbuminuria at baseline compared to those without macroalbuminuria (interaction p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Our study showed for the first time that bariatric surgery is associated with a long-term protection against ESRD and CKD4/ESRD.