Investigating the prevalence of nutritional abnormalities in patients prior to and following bariatric surgery

Publication Name

Nutrition and Dietetics


Aims: Bariatric surgery remains an effective treatment for the condition of obesity. However it predisposes patients to nutritional deficiencies and related complications. The aim of this study was to identify nutritional abnormalities, weight loss, adherence to supplements, and presence of gastrointestinal symptoms in a cohort of bariatric surgical patients. Methods: An analysis of the electronic medical records of patients attending a multidisciplinary private clinic in Sydney, Australia from August 2020 to August 2021 was conducted. Data on anthropometric measures, nutritional indices, adherence to supplements and gastrointestinal symptoms preoperatively and then at ≤6 months, 1 and 2 years or more postoperatively were collected. Results: A total of 231 patients were included in the study. The majority of patients were female (76.2%), with a sleeve gastrectomy (78.8%). Average preoperative BMI was 43.4 ± 7.1 kg/m2. Weight loss ≥2 years postsurgery was 33.5 ± 12.4 kg. The most common abnormalities preoperatively were: C-reactive protein (47.7%), vitamin D (39%), B12 (31%), parathyroid hormone (27.6%) and ferritin (12.7%). Vitamin B12 (23.2%), parathyroid hormone (23%), vitamin D (17.7%) and ferritin (15.9%) remained common abnormalities postoperatively. Adherence to multivitamins was 90% in the first year following surgery, declining to 77% at ≥2 years. Gastrointestinal symptoms were predominantly present in the initial stages following surgery, manifesting thiamin deficiency in 6.5% of patients. Conclusions: Despite achieving durable weight loss, nutritional and related abnormalities remain an ongoing challenge for bariatric surgery. Adherence to nutrient supplements, gastrointestinal symptoms and related complications are important considerations in addressing the problem.

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