Symposium| Volume 321, ISSUE 4, P280-284, April 2001

Cardiovascular Complications of Weight Reduction Diets


      Weight reduction diets may reduce the severity of risk factors for coronary heart disease such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. Several case reports and small studies of patients receiving starvation diets have reported hypotension and sudden cardiac death. Myofibrillar damage was documented in 1 case. Very-low-calorie diets are generally safe and well-tolerated. However, low QRS voltage, QT interval prolongation, and both nonsustained ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death have been described in subjects treated with such diets. Orthostatic hypotension may complicate very-low-calorie protein diets because of sodium depletion and depressed sympathetic nervous system activity. Bariatric surgery is associated with disproportionately high mortality rates in both the perioperative and postoperative periods.


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