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Doctors Perform the First Bariatric Embolization to Treat Obesity

Nov 21, 2014
 

Catheter-based procedure expected to decrease hormone responsible for appetite…

Bariatric embolization is a minimally invasive technique whereby a small catheter is introduced into the groin or wrist and guided into the left gastric artery that supplies the upper stomach. Particles smaller than a grain of sand are then injected into the left gastric artery to block blood flow—or embolize—the tiny branches of this artery. This is expected to decrease the hormone ghrelin, responsible for appetite, resulting in weight loss. This is the first catheter-based procedure that attempts to directly address obesity, one of the largest public health problems in the United States.

 

This could pave the way to a minimally invasive treatment for obesity. Under the supervision of lead investigator Mubin I. Syed, MD, of Dayton Interventional Radiology, and in conjunction with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the outcomes of the Gastric Artery Embolization Trial for Lessening Appetite Nonsurgically (GET LEAN) study could have a major impact.

Embolization is a procedure that has been performed for decades to stop life-threatening bleeding in a variety of organs including the stomach; bariatric embolization is a variant of this procedure. Animal studies at Johns Hopkins University and Duke University, using the left gastric artery embolization technique, showed significant ghrelin suppression and weight loss. Recently, researchers at Harvard University retrospectively noticed that patients undergoing gastric artery embolization to combat bleeding also lost 8% of their body weight, on average. The first and only other study in humans utilizing bariatric embolization for weight loss was conducted in the Georgian Republic (former Soviet Union). In that 2013 study, five patients lost an average of 45 pounds within six months.

Kamal Morar, MD, one of the study’s principal investigators, stated that, “We are combining years of scientific research on the hormone ghrelin, looking at its role with respect to appetite suppression, and combining it with an everyday type of embolization procedure that interventional radiologists routinely perform.”

The current research on this groundbreaking procedure concludes in September 2015 and will collect data on safety and efficacy for those patients who are morbidly obese (defined as having a BMI greater than 40). Qualified patients are between the ages of 22 and 65, in relatively good health and under 400 pounds. The GET LEAN study will look at changes in participants’ overall weight, changes in BMI, changes in appetite hormone levels and at quality of life data, while measuring adverse events. This FDA supervised study was issued an investigational device exemption (IDE).

Interventional radiology is a medical sub-specialty of radiology that uses minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system. The guiding principle is to utilize the least invasive techniques in order to minimize patient risk and improve outcomes.

Practice Pearls:

  • Embolization is a procedure that has been performed for decades to stop life-threatening bleeding in a variety of organs
  • Using the left gastric artery embolization technique, showed significant ghrelin suppression and weight loss
  • The current research on this groundbreaking procedure concludes in September 2015

http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02248688?term=bariatric+embolization&rank=2