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Bariatric Surgery and Heart Health

New Cleveland Clinic Study: Bariatric Surgery and Lower Mortality Rates of Heart Attack Patients

By Dr. James Buwen | February 14, 2023

Heart attack is the leading cause of death in the US, and obesity is one of the main risk factors. A study by the Cleveland Clinic analyzed the data of almost 300,000 patients with obesity and the results showed  lower rates of mortality and complications1 among patients who suffered a heart attack with a history of bariatric surgery compared to those who never had bariatric surgery. 

The results of the study indicate how effective weight loss can be in preventing premature death and severe complications, and how bariatric surgery plays a significant role. The Cleveland Clinic data showed that compared to patients with obesity who did not have bariatric surgery, bariatric surgery patients were 3 times less likely to die of a heart attack. Also, they had less severe complications such as respiratory failure (2.2% vs 4.2%) and were less likely to die while hospitalized for the heart attack (0.8% vs 2.3%). 

How Bariatric Surgery Can Help

Obesity is a disease that bariatric surgery does not cure, however, losing weight with weight loss procedures such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass lowers the body-mass index (BMI) which decreases strain on the heart muscle. With less excess body weight, the heart works less to pump blood and does not need to overexert itself, reducing the risk of a heart attack and the risk of more severe complications if someone does have a heart attack. Combined with diet and exercise, weight loss with bariatric surgery contributes to the resolution or reduction of other health conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure, as well.

Losing Weight with Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery - gastric sleeve and gastric bypass - starts weight loss by reducing the size of the stomach and slowing down the secretion of hunger hormones called Ghrelin. With a smaller sized stomach, you feel fuller on smaller portions of food. With the gastric sleeve, on average, patients lose between 40-70% of their excess body weight as early as 12 months after the procedure. And, with gastric bypass, not only do patients lose weight because they cannot eat as much, they also absorb fewer calories resulting in an average of 60-80% of their excess body weight lost.

Early Intervention

The report underscores the importance of early intervention in patients with obesity. Speak with your doctor if you struggle with obesity and are concerned about a heart condition to find out if bariatric surgery may be an option for you. At New Jersey Bariatric Center we offer additional resources along with bariatric surgery to help you achieve long-term sustainable health. Our team provides nutritional counseling, meal planning, recipe ideas and virtual exercise classes to help patients maintain healthy habits and sustain weight loss both before and after surgery.

For more questions or to make an appointment, give us a call at 908-481-1270. 


  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, May 20). Bariatric surgery impacts heart attack outcomes. Cleveland Clinic, from 
  2. For heart patients, bariatric surgery may lower risk of future cardiovascular problems. (2022, January 3), from 
James Buwen, DO, is a bariatric and general surgeon with New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Sparta and Totowa, New Jersey. New Jersey Bariatric Center helps patients achieve long-term weight loss success through the most advanced bariatric surgery procedures, including gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures. New Jersey Bariatric Center’s approach to patient care has resulted in zero mortalities and a complication rate that is lower than the national average.
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