RSNA: Left gastric artery embolism may aid weight loss

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CHICAGO—Patients lose significantly more weight after left gastric artery embolism than embolization for other gastric arteries after upper gastro intestinal (GI) bleeding, according to a study to be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Ghrelin, a neuropeptide that has strong appetite-stimulating effects in the gastric fundus, could help control body weight through suppression of its serum levels. The left gastric artery mainly supplies the gastric fundus and can be embolized in interventional radiologic procedures.

“Ghrelin is the only hormone known to stimulate the appetite, so it is an intriguing potential target for combating obesity,” said senior researcher Rahmi Oklu, MD, PhD, assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, in a press release.

Oklu and colleagues designed a retrospective study at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to assess the post-procedural weight loss of patients after left gastric artery embolization. The study included the electronic health records of 15 patients who underwent left gastric artery embolization for upper GI bleeding.

Records of 18 age-matched control patients who were treated for upper GI bleeding with transarterial embolization of a different artery were also reviewed. Results indicated that patients who underwent left gastric artery embolization lost an average of 7.9 percent of their body weight within three months post-procedure. Weight loss in the control group for the same time frame, on the other hand, was 1.2 percent.

“Embolizing the left gastric artery may be a potential bariatric treatment for weight loss and an alternative to other invasive procedures,” remarked Oklu in the press release. “This is an important data point in the development of a new clinical tool for the treatment of obesity.”