Obesity Surgery

, 17:9 | Cite as

Causes of 30-day Bariatric Surgery Mortality: With Emphasis on Bypass Obstruction

  • Edward E. Mason
  • Kathleen E. Renquist
  • Yu-Hui Huang
  • Mohammad Jamal
  • Isaac Samuel


This is a study of the causes of 30-day postoperative death following surgical treatment for obesity and a search for ways to decrease an already low mortality rate.


Data were contributed from 1986–2004 to the International Bariatric Surgery Registry by 85 sites, representing 137 surgeons. A spread-sheet was prepared with rows for causes and columns for patients. The 251 causes contributing to 93 deaths were then marked in cells wherever a patient was noted to have one of the causes. Rows and columns were then moved into positions that provided patterns of best fit.


11 patterns were found. 10 had well known initiating causes of death. Overall operative 30-day mortality was 0.24% (93 / 38,501). The most common cause of death was pulmonary embolism (32%, 30/93). 14 deaths were caused by leaks (15%, 14/93), and were equally prevalent after simple (15%, 2/14) or complex (15%, 12/79) operations. Small bowel obstruction caused 8 deaths, exclusively after complex operations. 5 of these involved the bypassed biliopancreatic limb and were defined as “bypass obstruction”


A spread-sheet study of cause of 30-day postoperative death revealed a rapidly lethal initiating complication of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass obstruction that requires the earliest possible recognition and treatment. Bypass obstruction needs a name and code to facilitate recognition, study, prevention and early treatment. Spread-sheet pattern analysis of all available data helped identify the initiating cause of death for individual patients when multiple data elements were present.

Key words

Morbid obesity bariatric surgery bypass obstruction 30-day cause of death spread-sheet pattern analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward E. Mason
    • 1
  • Kathleen E. Renquist
    • 1
  • Yu-Hui Huang
    • 2
  • Mohammad Jamal
    • 1
  • Isaac Samuel
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryThe Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of MedicineIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.College of Public HealthThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  3. 3.Surgical ServiceVA Medical CenterIowa CityUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryIowa CityUSA

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