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Bariatric Surgery and Suicide Risk in Patients With Obesity.

Hung A, Maciejewski ML, Berkowitz TSZ, Arterburn DE, Mitchell JE, Bradley KA, Kimbrel NA, Smith VA. Bariatric Surgery and Suicide Risk in Patients With Obesity. Annals of surgery. 2023 Oct 1; 278(4):e760-e765.

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OBJECTIVE: In a large multisite cohort of Veterans who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, we compared the 5-year suicidal ideation and attempt rates with matched nonsurgical controls. BACKGROUND: Bariatric surgery has significant health benefits but has also been associated with adverse mental health outcomes. METHODS: Five-year rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts of Veterans who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy from the fiscal year 2000-2016 to matched nonsurgical controls using sequential stratification using cumulative incidence functions (ideation cohort: n = 38,199; attempt cohort: n = 38,661 after excluding patients with past-year outcome events). Adjusted differences in suicidal ideation and suicide attempts were estimated using a Cox regression with a robust sandwich variance estimator. RESULTS: In the matched cohorts for suicidal ideation analyses, the mean age was 53.47 years and the majority were males (78.7%) and White (77.7%). Over 40% were treated for depression (41.8%), had a nonrecent depression diagnosis (40.9%), and 4.1% had past suicidal ideation or suicide attempts > 1 year before index. Characteristics of the suicide attempt cohort were similar. Regression results found that risk of suicidal ideation was significantly higher for surgical patients (adjusted hazard ratio = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.03-1.41), as was risk of suicide attempt (adjusted hazard ratio = 1.62, 95% CI: 1.22-2.15). CONCLUSIONS: Bariatric surgery appears to be associated with a greater risk of suicidal ideation and attempts than nonsurgical treatment of patients with severe obesity, suggesting that patients need careful monitoring for suicidal ideation and additional psychological support after bariatric surgery.

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