Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: Dr Flum and colleagues1 investigated early mortality among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing bariatric surgery. Other studies2,3 in the same issue of JAMA also bear on the practice and safety of bariatric surgery. All drew their conclusions from disparate administrative databases and were therefore subject to the limitations of working with such data (eg, outdated coding, inability to adjust for risk, missing information). These studies nonetheless demonstrate that there are vulnerable patient populations and potential additional costs associated with surgery and suggest that high surgical volume helps reduce these risks and costs.
Blackburn GL, Hutter MM, Jones DB. Research in Bariatric Surgery. JAMA. 2006;295(20):2355-2356. doi:10.1001/jama.295.20.2355-b