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Funk LM, Gunnar W, Dominitz JA, Eisenberg D, Frayne S, Maggard-Gibbons M, Kalarchian MA, Livingston E, Sanchez V, Smith BR, Weidenbacher H, Maciejewski ML. A Health Services Research Agenda for Bariatric Surgery Within the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of general internal medicine. 2017 Apr 1; 32(Suppl 1):65-69.
In 2016, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) held a Weight Management State of the Art conference to identify evidence gaps and develop a research agenda for population-based weight management for veterans. Included were behavioral, pharmacologic, and bariatric surgery workgroups. This article summarizes the bariatric surgery workgroup (BSWG) findings and recommendations for future research. The BSWG agreed that there is evidence from randomized trials and large observational studies suggesting that bariatric surgery is superior to medical therapy for short- and intermediate-term remission of type 2 diabetes, long-term weight loss, and long-term survival. Priority evidence gaps include long-term comorbidity remission, mental health, substance abuse, and health care costs. Evidence of the role of endoscopic weight loss options is also lacking. The BSWG also noted the limited evidence regarding optimal timing for bariatric surgery referral, barriers to bariatric surgery itself, and management of high-risk bariatric surgery patients. Clinical trials of pre- and post-surgery interventions may help to optimize patient outcomes. A registry of overweight and obese veterans and a workforce assessment to determine the VHA''s capacity to increase bariatric surgery access were recommended. These will help inform policy modifications and focus the research agenda to improve the ability of the VHA to deliver population-based weight management.