When you hear "gastric bypass" surgery, you probably think of weight loss, and it's true that it's an available tool for some people to lose weight. But in some cases it's also effective in the battle against diabetes. Some doctors at Geisinger are getting recognition for a scoring system they've invented to predict whether a patient's diabetes would be helped by the surgery. It's called the DiaRem score.
It's estimated that 2/3 of the adult US population is overweight, and 1/2 of those people are obese. The prevalence of diabetes has also increased in recent decades not only in adults, but in children too.
Bariatric surgery can be effective for weight loss, but Dr. Christopher Still points out, it's also can be effective in resolving diabetes, even if the patient isn't morbidly obese. There just wasn't a way to determine which patients had the greatest likelihood of success until now.
"It really is a personalized, patient-centric decision making tool," said Dr. Still, the Director for Nutrition and Weight Management at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville. He's also one of three Geisinger employees to come up with a simple scoring system called DiaRem.
"This is really the first pre-operative equation where you can put in the data before surgery and give a percentage of resolving diabetes after gastric bypass," said Dr. Still.
The scoring system takes a patient's age and blood sugar measurement and factors in whether they're on medication and/or insulin to control diabetes. The resulting score is a predictor of who will resolve their diabetes within five years of gastric bypass surgery.
Details on the DiaRem scoring system were just published in a national medical journal. Dr. Still hopes it'll be used by doctors to help their patients make the best decision.