Is Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency a cause of Malabsorption in Patients after Bariatric Surgery?

Introduction It is known that afferent and efferent loop syndromes can develop following gastric surgery procedures, which can result in accelerated intestinal transit time as well as colonization by pathogenic bacteria in the upper gastrointestinal tract with inadequate stimulation and poorly synchronized pancreatic enzyme secretion. This condition is known as pancreaticocibal asynchrony and can cause pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. The aim of our study was to determine whether pancreatic exocrine insufficiency is impaired in patients after bariatric surgery. We are presenting the results of a pilot study. Patients and methods Patients were selected from the bariatric surgery outpatient clinic of the Slovenj Gradec General Hospital (Slovenian centre of excellence for bariatric surgery). All patients were Caucasians over 18 years of age. The eligibility criteria for surgery were determined according to European guidelines body mass index ≥40 kg/ m2 or ≥35 kg/m2 in patients with obesity-related comorbidities). All procedures were performed by laparoscopic surgery (as Roux-en-Y or mini-omega loop gastric bypass). All patients received standard supplementation after surgery. Faecal elastase-1 (FE1) measurements were performed using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method. Results Twenty-two consecutive patients were included in the study: 21 (95.5%) female and 1 (4.5%) male; the mean age was 42.0±9.2 years, with a range of 24 to 57 years. Patients were included in the study one year after bariatric surgery. Weight outcomes Body mass index pre-surgery: 42.5±4.0 (range 34.9-49.1). Body mass index present: 27.4±3.2 (range 23.1-34.6). Pre-surgery weight: 119.5±15.0 kg (range 97-149). Lowest post-surgery weight (present weight): 76.7±9.6 kg (range 63-100). Total weight loss: 42.8±7.3 kg. Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency was present in two patients (9.1%): mild to moderate pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (FE1 191 μg/g) in a 39-year-old male and severe pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (FE1 15 μg/g) in a 52-year-old female. Serum nutritional markers were low in both patients (vitamin D, iron, selenium). Conclusions Our results show that pancreatic exocrine insufficiency is possible in patients one year post-surgery and could be an additional cause of malabsorption in this group of patients.


Vujasinovic Miroslav, Kunst Gregor, Breznikar Brane, Rozej Barbara, Tepes Bojan, Rudolf Sasa, Kuster Andreja

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