INTRODUCTION intragastric balloons provide early satiety and thereby induce short-term weight loss. The aim of this study was to evaluate safety and short and medium-term effectiveness of gastric balloons associated to hypocaloric diet in obesity. MATERIAL AND METHODS from May 2004 to June 2011 91 obese patients, body mass index (BMI) 45.2 +/- 7.2 kg/m2 were prospectively followed after endoscopic implantation of a gastric balloon associated to restricted diet. Successful therapy was defined as percent loss of total weight (%LTW) > or = 5 % at six months after balloon placement and 6 and 12 months after their withdrawal. All analyses followed intention-to treat principles considering significant p-values < 0.05. RESULTS we placed 73 fluid-filled balloons (80.2 %) and 18 air-filled ones (19.8 %). Compared to baseline values, at 6-month 73.7 % subjects succeeded, showing significant reductions in weight (13.3 +/- 8.8 kg), BMI (5 +/- 3.4 kg/m2) (p < 0.0001), with % LTW 11 +/- 7 %. Six and twelve months after retrieval 45.1 % and 28.6 % patients reached % LTW > or = 5 %. Short-term and medium-term effectiveness was negatively associated to obesity in first-grade relatives (p = 0.003 and p = 0.04). Higher weight loss 6 months after balloon placement independently predicted medium-term effectiveness (p = 0.0001). Mortality was absent but there were two spontaneous deflations of air-filled balloons and severe withdrawal difficulties in 8 patients, leading to surgery in one case. Retrieval complications associated to air-filled balloons (p = 0.0005). CONCLUSIONS in obesity, effectiveness of gastric balloons associated to hypocaloric diet decreases over time.Complications occurred mainly in the retrieval endoscopic procedure and related to air-filled balloons.
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