Skip to main content

07-08-2019 | Rheumatoid arthritis | News

News in brief

Bariatric surgery may not reduce RA risk

medwireNews: Among people with obesity, undergoing bariatric surgery is not associated with a reduction in the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), researchers report.

In their longitudinal study, Cristina Maglio (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and colleagues found that 2.3% of 2002 individuals who underwent bariatric surgery developed RA over a median follow-up of 21 years, as did 2.2% of 2034 matched obese controls, translating into a nonsignificant difference in risk on multivariable analysis.

The lack of protective association between bariatric surgery and RA risk occurred despite participants in the surgery group achieving a sustained reduction in BMI, with an average loss of 17% after 10 years, say the researchers in Rheumatology.

Noting that “[l]arge meta-analyses have […] shown that obesity is among the risk factors for the development of RA, especially among women,” Maglio and team stress that “our results do not necessarily rule out that obesity is a risk factor for RA.”

Instead, it is possible that long-term obesity may have “triggered the development of asymptomatic preclinical RA and that such changes could not be counterbalanced by the subsequent weight loss,” they speculate, and point out that some patients remained obese even after “profound weight loss following bariatric surgery,” suggesting that “an even greater degree of weight loss might be needed to provide protection from the development of RA.”

By Claire Barnard

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2019 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

Rheumatology 2019; doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kez275

Related topics