Incidence and outcomes after bariatric surgery in older patients: a state‐wide data‐linked cohort study

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The escalating obesity epidemic in Australia has seen the number of obese adults (BMI (body mass index) ≥30 kg/m2) rise from 14% in 2001 to 27.8% in 2012.1 Furthermore, weight gain increases with age peaking amongst Australians 55–64 years old (36.7% with BMI ≥30 kg/m2 in 2012).3 Attempts to curtail escalating obesity rates have seen a dramatic rise in the popularity of bariatric surgery over the last two decades.4 Rapid increases in the incidence of bariatric surgery have been matched by improved surgical and anaesthetic methods with a well‐established evidence base supporting its safety and efficiency in providing a viable long‐term solution to obesity.8 These advances in techniques combined with a multidisciplinary approach have led to a wider cohort of patients now being considered as suitable candidates for bariatric surgery.
Older age groups, with their higher incidence of obesity and weight related comorbidities, may stand to benefit the most from shedding excess weight.3 Likewise, beneficial weight loss is attainable within 12 months of surgery, allowing older patients to realize effective changes to their quality of life in an achievable time frame.9 Despite this, the mean age of bariatric surgery in Australia has previously been reported at 41.5 years.4 Concerns regarding increased peri‐operative complications rates12 coupled with private Australian hospitals not always offering the required multidisciplinary resources, such as intensive care, have led to a reluctance in offering bariatric surgery to older patients. The objective of this study is to report on the incidence of bariatric surgery in older Australians and to compare the associated short and long‐term outcomes, such as re‐hospitalization rates, in older obese populations.
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