Background — Severe nutritional complications can occur following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). Adherence to follow-up visits can reduce the risk of many bariatric surgery complications, but whether this applies to severe nutritional complications is unknown.
Objectives — Determine the association between adherence to follow-up visits after RYGB and risk of severe nutritional complications.
Setting — Multicenter publicly-funded Ontario Bariatric Network.
Methods — Retrospective cohort study of Ontario adults participating in the Ontario Bariatric Registry who underwent RYGB between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2015. The primary outcome was a severe nutritional complication (hospital admission with malnutrition or nutrient deficiency) occurring 1 year or more after RYGB. The primary exposure was adherence to postoperative follow-up visits, occurring at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively, and categorized as perfect (3 visits), partial (1–2 visits), or none. Cox proportional hazards modeling quantified the association between adherence to follow-up visits and the primary outcome using hazard ratios (HR).
Results — In total, 9105 adults (84% female, age 44.7 ± 10.3 yr) met study criteria. Mean preoperative body mass index (BMI) was 48.6 kg/m2. First year follow-up attendance was: 51.7% perfect, 31.6% partial, and 16.7% none. Median time in the study was 3.4 years. Severe nutritional complications occurred in 1.1% of patients. Compared with perfect follow-up, patients with no follow-up (HR 3.09, 95% CI 1.74–5.50) and partial follow-up (HR 1.94, 95% CI 1.25–3.03) had an increased risk of severe nutritional complications.
Conclusion — Adherence to follow-up visits during the first year after RYGB is independently associated with reduction in the risk of subsequent severe nutritional complications.