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Obes Surg. 2009 Apr;19(4):461-6. doi: 10.1007/s11695-008-9619-3. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Serum C-reactive protein and white blood cell count in morbidly obese surgical patients.

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Department of Surgery, Min-Sheng General Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China.



Obesity has been widely recognized as a chronic inflammatory condition and associated with elevated inflammatory indicators including C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cell count (WBC). Recent studies have shown elevated CRP or WBC is a significant risk factor for cardiac events and stroke but the clinical significance of CRP and WBC has not been clearly studied in morbidly obese patients. This study is aimed at the clinical significance of WBC and CRP in morbidly obese patients and the change after bariatric surgery.


The study was a prospectively controlled clinical study. From December 1, 2001 to January 31, 2006, of 640 (442 females and 198 males) consecutive morbid obese patients enrolled in a surgically supervised weight loss program with at least 1 year's follow-up were examined.


Of the patients, 476 (74.4%) had elevated CRP and 100 (15.6%) had elevated WBC at preoperative study. CRP and WBC were significantly related and both increased with increasing body mass index (BMI). CRP is also increased with increasing waist, glucose level, hemoglobin, albumin, Ca, insulin, C-peptide, and metabolic syndrome while WBC is increased with metabolic syndrome but decreased with increasing age. Multivariate analysis confirmed fasting glucose level and hemoglobin are independent predictors of the elevation of CRP while age is the only independent predictor for elevated WBC. Both WBC and CRP levels decreased rapidly after obesity surgery. These improvements resulted in a 69.8% reduction of CRP and 26.4% reduction of WBC 1 year after surgery. Although individuals who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass lost significantly more weight (36.8 +/- 11.7 kg vs. 17.3 +/- 10.8 kg; p = 0.000) and achieved a lower BMI (27.8 +/- 4.6 vs. 35.0 +/- 5.5; p = 0.000) than individuals who underwent laparoscopic gastric banding, there was no difference in the resolution of elevated CRP 1 year after surgery (95.9% vs. 84.5%; p = 0.169) and WBC (99.4% vs. 98.3%; p = 0.323).


Both baseline WBC and CRP are elevated in morbid obese patients but CRP has a better clinical significance. Significant weight reduction 1 year after surgery markedly reduced CRP and WBC with a resolution rate of 93.9% and 98.2% separately. Obesity surgery performed by laparoscopic surgery is recommended for obese patients with elevated CRP or WBC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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