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Gastrointestinal symptoms are more intense in morbidly obese patients

  • A. Foster
  • W. O. Richards
  • J. McDowell
  • H. L. Laws
  • R. H. Clements
Original article

Abstract

Background: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is an effective treatment for morbid obesity. However, little information is available on gastrointestinal (GI) symptomatology in this population. This study compares GI symptoms in morbidly obese patients to that of control subjects. Methods: A previously validated, 19-point GI symptom questionnaire was administered prospectively to each patient seen for surgical consultation for morbid obesity. The symptoms were then grouped into 6 clusters as follows: (1) abdominal pain, (2) irritable bowel, (3) GERD, (4) reflux, (5) sleep disturbance, (6) dysphagia. The result of each cluster of symptoms expressed as mean ± standard deviation of obese versus control is compared using student’s t-test with significance p = 0.05. Results: Forty-three patients (40 female, 3 male) age 37.3 ± 8.6 with BMI 47.8 ± 4.9, and 36 healthy control subjects (23 female, 13 male), age 39.8 ± 11.2, completed the questionnaire. Results of each cluster for morbid obese vs control subjects are expressed as mean ± standard deviation: Abdominal pain 25.3 ± 18.0 vs 12.1 ± 11.4, p = 0.0002; irritable bowel 23.0 ± 14.8 vs 15.6 ± 13.3, p = 0.02; GERD 40.3 ± 18.9 vs 22.3 ± 16.1, p = 0.0001; reflux 29.9 ± 19.0 vs 11.8 ± 13.4, p = 0.0001; sleep disturbance 50.6 ± 28.9 vs 32.9 ± 26.8, p = 0.006; dysphagia 10.9 ± 15.6 vs 7.2 ± 10.6, p = NS. Conclusions: Morbidly obese patients experience more intense GI symptoms than normal subjects, whereas dysphagia is equivalent to normal subjects. These data may be important in counseling patients and understanding that their complaints are legitimate. Follow-up in the postoperative period is needed to determine if these symptoms are improved with an operation.

Keywords

Outcomes Gastrointestinal symptoms Morbid obesity Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Tony Bondora for statistical support.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Foster
    • 1
  • W. O. Richards
    • 2
  • J. McDowell
    • 2
  • H. L. Laws
    • 1
    • 3
  • R. H. Clements
    • 4
  1. 1.Carraway Methodist Medical Center, 1600 Carraway Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35234, USA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt University Medical Center, D5203 MCN, Nashville, TN 37232-2577, USA
  3. 3.The Norwood Clinic, Inc., 1528 Carraway Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35234, USA
  4. 4.University of Alabama-Birmingham, KB 405, 1530 3rd Ave. South, Birmingham, AL 35294-0016, USA

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