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March 1995

Long-term Morbidity Following Jejunoileal Bypass: The Continuing Potential Need for Surgical Reversal

Author Affiliations

From the Section of General Surgery, Department of Surgery (Drs Requarth, Burchard, Colacchio, and Weismann), and the Section of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Department of Community and Family Medicine and Norris Cotton Cancer Center (Drs Stukel and Greenberg and Ms Mott), Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH. Dr Requarth is now in private practice in Charleston, WVa.

Arch Surg. 1995;130(3):318-325. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430030088018

Objective:  To review the late sequelae of jejunoileal bypass (JIB) and the potential role of late surgical reversal in ameliorating morbidity and mortality following JIB.

Design:  Patients who underwent JIB between 1965 and 1977 were contacted and pertinent health-event information was gathered. Early sequelae were defined as disorders occurring within the first 2 years after JIB; late sequelae were those occurring after 2 years. Health events occurring between () and 23 years after JIB were documented.

Setting:  A private, tertiary referral center.

Patients:  Patients underwent JIB for morbid obesity that had failed medical and/or psychiatric interventions.

Main Outcome Measures:  Body mass index (BMI) (weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters), diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, acute and chronic liver disease, renal disease, JIB reversal, reason for JIB reversal, death, and cause of death.

Results:  A total of 453 morbidly obese patients underwent JIB. By 2 years following JIB, the mean (±SD) BMI dropped from 49.3±8.1 to 31.1±0.8 and remained at this level until year 15, after which weight gradually increased (BMI, 35.4±3.1). The most severe early complication was acute liver failure, which occurred in 7% of patients and caused seven deaths. At 15 years, the actuarial probability of the most common serious late complications related to JIB were renal disease (37%), with two deaths; diarrhea (29%); and liver disease (10%), with three deaths. One hundred thirty-eight patients (31%) had a bypass reversal. The most common indications for reversal were diarrhea and electrolyte disturbance (29%), renal disease (19%), and liver disease (17%). Fifty-six patients died more than 30 days after JIB: 64% before JIB reversal, 13% at the time of reversal, and 23% subsequently.

Conclusions:  Jejunoileal bypass is associated with progressive accrual of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications. Lifelong follow-up for early diagnosis and surgical reversal before life is threatened should reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with this procedure.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:318-325)

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