(HealthDay News) — For patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), bariatric surgery-associated weight loss correlates with lower disease activity, decreased serum inflammatory markers, and less RA-related medication use, according to a study published in the December issue of Arthritis Care & Research.
Jeffrey A. Sparks, MD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 53 RA patients who underwent bariatric surgery. Anthropometrics, laboratory values, RA disease activity, and medication use data measures were obtained at baseline (before surgery), at six and 12 months after surgery, and at most recent follow-up.
The researchers found that at 12 months after surgery, subjects had lost a mean of 41.0kg and 70% of excess weight (P < 0.001). At postsurgical visits there was significant improvement in RA disease activity (P < 0.001). Six percent of patients had moderate to high disease activity at 12 months after surgery, compared with 57 percent at baseline (P < 0.001). Seventy-four percent of patients were in remission at the most recent follow-up (mean, 5.8 years after surgery), compared with 26 percent at baseline (P < 0.001). Compared with baseline, at follow-up visits, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein level, and RA-related medication use were significantly lower (P < 0.05).
“Other factors, such as improved efficacy of medications, improved physical activity, and metabolic changes, may also have contributed to these postsurgical improvements,” the authors write.