BACKGROUND - Metabolic bone disease is a potential complication of bariatric surgery. The aims of our study were to evaluate the effects of laparoscopic gastric bypass on calcium and vitamin D metabolism, and to identify patients at high risk to develop secondary hyperparathyroidism (HPT).
METHODS - Serum calcium, alkaline phosphatase, intact parathyroid hormone (PTH), and 25-hydroxy (OH) vitamin D were measured at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after laparoscopic gastric bypass in a cohort of morbidly obese women. Logistic regression was used in both univariate and multivariate models to identify independent preoperative variables associated with secondary HPT.
RESULTS - The study enrolled 193 morbidly obese women. During the 2-year follow-up period, the incidence of elevated PTH levels (>65 pg/ml) was 53.3%. The mean time elapsed between surgery and detection of secondary HPT was 9.1 months (range, 3-24 months). Vitamin D deficiency was observed in 39 patients (20.2%). On univariate analysis, the preoperative factors associated with secondary HPT were race (high PTH levels were detected in 70% of African Americans versus 50% of Caucasians; p < 0.05), preoperative body mass index (BMI; high PTH: 52.5 +/- 10.8 versus normal PTH: 48.9 +/- 7.5 kg/m2; p < 0.01), and age (high PTH: 44.9 +/- 9.2 versus normal PTH: 42.3 +/- 9 years, p < 0.05). Race and age remained independent risk factors for secondary HPT in the multivariate logistic regression model after adjusting for the covariate Roux-limb length. African Americans were at more than 2.5 times greater risk to develop secondary HPT as Caucasian (RR 2.5; 95% CI: 1.03-6.17, p < 0.05). Patients older than 45 years were at 1.8 times higher risk of developing secondary HPT as their younger counterparts (RR 1.8; 95% CI: 1.01-3.32, p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - Morbidly obese women have a high incidence of elevated PTH levels after gastric bypass surgery. Low vitamin D levels did not constitute the only reason behind this finding. African-American women and women older than 45 years of age were at significantly higher risk of developing secondary HPT. In these populations, aggressive supplementation with calcium citrate and vitamin D should be implemented.