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Obes Res. 2005 Dec;13(12):2052-4.

Characteristics of patients undergoing bariatric surgery in Canada.

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Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, Canada.



The increasing prevalence of obesity has led to an increased use of bariatric surgery in the treatment of severely obese individuals. The characteristics of patients undergoing bariatric procedures outside of clinical studies and on a national level have not previously been reported.


Acute-care hospital discharge data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information were analyzed to determine the demographic and clinical features and in-hospital mortality rates of individuals undergoing bariatric surgery in Canada. Data from individuals undergoing surgery in fiscal year 2002/2003 were compared with data from 1993/1994.


Over 1100 bariatric surgeries were performed in Canada in 2002/2003, with the vast majority being performed in middle-aged women. Ten percent of patients had hypertension or diabetes, and only 1% or fewer had dyslipidemia or cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. Compared with 1993/1994, patients undergoing surgery in 2002/2003 were older, more likely to have diabetes or hypertension, and had shorter hospital stays. In-hospital mortality rates were <1% in both years.


In the last decade, there has been a small increase in the average age and the number of patients with concomitant cardiovascular risk factors who are undergoing bariatric procedures in Canada. However, the vast majority of surgeries are being performed in middle-aged women with little cardiovascular comorbidity, and this is likely contributing to very low in-hospital death rates. Such individuals likely represent a highly selected sample of severely obese patients within Canada.

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