John Fernstrom, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, pharmacology and neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and research director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Weight Management Center, and colleagues analysed data from 347 patients at the upper extreme of body weight, with a beginning Body Mass Index of greater than 40 who underwent gastric bypass surgery at UPMC between 1992 and 2001.

Half of the study patients were classed as hypertensive prior to gastric bypass surgery. Of those, some were unmedicated and had high blood pressure while others were being treated for their hypertension. The patients who were not being treated for hypertension prior to surgery experienced significant blood pressure decreases that continued to remain low 18 months after surgery. Of the patients under active drug treatment for hypertension prior to surgery, about one-third were able to reduce or eliminate their blood pressure medications after surgery. The group of patients with normal blood pressure who were taking no blood pressure medications before surgery showed insignificant changes following surgery.

"Extremely obese patients have great difficulty reducing their body weight through lifestyle changes and pharmacotherapy, so their overall health remains compromised and high blood pressure represents a serious health problem. In counselling patients who are considering gastric bypass surgery, this study will help us to identify those patients who can reasonably expect the long-lasting health benefits from significantly reduced blood pressure," said study co-author Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of the UPMC Weight Management Center.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center