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Invited Critique
October 1, 2007

Death Rates and Causes of Death After Bariatric Surgery for Pennsylvania Residents, 1995 to 2004—Invited Critique

Arch Surg. 2007;142(10):929. doi:10.1001/archsurg.142.10.929

Is bariatric surgery dangerous? Recent reports from Washington State citing a 1-year mortality of 1.9%1 and a 1-year death rate of 4.6% in Medicare beneficiaries undergoing bariatric operations2 received widespread attention from the lay press. A seemingly high mortality due to bariatric procedures provided ammunition to the insurance industry, which responded by reducing or eliminating coverage. High mortality rates called into question the risk-benefit ratio for operations that remain the only proven modality for achieving sustained weight loss in the morbidly obese.

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