State-of-the-art Medical Therapy Versus Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Alone for Treatment of Early Diabetic Kidney Disease

Published:March 30, 2022DOI:


      Type 2 diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the most common global cause of kidney disease and failure. Obesity is a major risk factor for DKD due to its causal relationship with diabetes, hypertension, and other factors promoting kidney disease. We therefore investigated whether metabolic surgery such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is more effective than state-of-the-art medical therapy (i.e., renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors, and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists) in treating DKD.

      Design and Methods

      In a post hoc analysis of the Microvascular Outcomes after Metabolic Surgery trial, we compared the likelihood of regression of microalbuminuria as the primary endpoint and other renal and metabolic secondary endpoints in a population of patients with obesity, type 2 diabetes, microalbuminuria, and early chronic kidney disease followed for 24 months. Nine patients underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, and 24 patients were on state-of-the-art medical therapy.


      The gastric bypass arm had a significantly higher rate of regression of microalbuminuria (P < .001), borderline significant reduction in mean urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (P = .055), and much greater weight loss (P = .001). There were no statistically significant differences between arms in estimated glomerular filtration rate, risk of developing estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 over 5 years, mean hemoglobin A1c, systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or the American Diabetes Association triple endpoint.


      We found that metabolic surgery offers more kidney protection than state-of-the-art triple therapy for DKD at 24 months. Prospective studies in this area are necessary to better define the benefits and risks of medical versus surgical treatment of DKD.


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