Surgery can achieve 80% remission in patients with early Chronic Kidney Disease

Call to provide more surgical treatments to patients with Kidney Disease

Ireland has been called on to offer more gastric surgery to people with kidney disease related to type 2 diabetes – as new research has shown 80% of patients can achieve remission of their disease through surgery. 

The call to transition Ireland’s approach to treatment of the disease, which affects more than 7,000 people in the country, was made today by IrSPEN, the Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. 

IrSPEN spokesperson Professor Carel le Roux said the new multinational research led by Irish and Brazilian Doctors found that after two years 80% of gastric bypass patients achieved long-term remission, compared to 50% of those on best possible medical treatments. 

“In Irish hospitals we should transition towards offering those with early stage Kidney Disease due to type 2 diabetes surgery over medical treatment. The research was carried out on 100 patients within the first randomized controlled trial of its kind and published in JAMA Surgery. 

Professor le Roux, who is an Obesity Specialist at St Vincent’s University Hospital, said the research has highlighted not only the opportunity to improve quality of life for patients, but also to save massively on costs for the HSE. 

“We have costed that if Ireland offers at least 100 extra metabolic surgeries per year the health service will start saving money within two years. 

The cost of surgery is approximately €10,000 per patient. However, for every additional one person who is prevented from needing ongoing dialysis, the State would save at least half a million euro in the long-term.”

Dr Ricardo Cohen, the lead research surgeon and based in Brazil remarked that “Ireland has one of the lowest levels of investment in and use of metabolic surgery in the EU. This new study has shown that surgery is both more effective and safe”.  

Dublin based patient Stephen Dempsey was one of the few to receive surgery which he said made a huge difference to his life.

“I am not only healthier as my diabetes and chronic kidney disease have gone into remission, but my quality of life has dramatically improved.”

Professor le Roux concluded by saying that as we emerge from the COVID-19 epidemic the health system must be re-organised to bring maximum benefit to patients by using clinically proven and cost-effective strategies.

“In France for example they carry out 40 times more gastric surgeries per head of the population compared to Ireland. Ireland is leading scientific research knowledge in obesity, kidney disease, and diabetes but is also the country with one of the lowest levels of metabolic surgery. This must change for the benefit of both patients and the health service. 

IrSPEN recently cautioned against patients with obesity being ‘stigmatised’, in the re-start of non-COVID health treatments and said that that patients with obesity are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 – and need equal access to treatments as the health system begins to address backlogs.

Further Information

Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.