Clinical Characteristics of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Patients with Death from Accidental Overdose or Intentional Self-Harm

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The objective of this descriptive study was to identify clinical characteristics of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) patients who died from intentional self-harm or accidental overdose postoperatively.

Materials and Methods

This retrospective, descriptive study included RYGB patients from a large rural medical center that completed surgery between January 2004 and December 2014 and died from intentional self-harm or accidental overdose through December 2015. Specific causes of death were obtained from the National Death Index and clinical data from electronic health records. Clinical characteristics explored were age, sex, time to surgery, weight loss expectations, postoperative weight loss, medication, diagnoses, psychiatric histories (diagnoses, self-harm, suicidal ideation and behaviors, medications, substance use, preoperative Beck Depression Inventory-II scores), pain, social support, and reported life stressors.


Overall, 22 patients of 146 total deceased patients died from intention self-harm (n = 6) or accidental overdose (n = 16) over the study period (77.3% female, mean age at time of surgery = 38.4 ± 9.1 years). Younger age (< 40 years), history of self-harm or depression, preoperative pain, and use of opioids at the time of surgery emerged as common characteristics in weight loss surgery patients who died from intentional self-harm or accidental overdose. No trends regarding social support, life stressors, or actual or expected weight loss were identified.


Certain weight loss surgery patients may be at risk for death from self-harm or overdose and may benefit from greater surveillance postoperatively.

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Obesity Surgery





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This article was published in Obesity Surgery, Voume 28, Issue 11, pages 3531-3537.

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