Intragastric Balloons..Technological Means to Cut Spread of Obesity in Kuwait

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MoH keen to take FDA reports into account: Al-Shatti

Kuwait is ranked first in the Arab world and second globally as the most obese country, with 80 percent of adults and 30 pc of children diagnosed as obese, according to a study by Kuwait Obesity Association.

The increase of obesity in the world, which is classified as an “epidemic” by global health organizations, has led to the discovery of new techniques to reduce the spread of obesity, starting from the traditional operations, sleeve gastrectomy surgery and to intragastric balloons.

 

The intragastric balloons are a means of helping to lose weight and scientifically proven to treat obesity and substitute for surgeries that may have some complications. Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) has taken the opinions of specialists in obesity surgery to identify the types of balloons in Kuwait, which is more appropriate compared to other operations, especially after the US Food and Drg Administration (FDA) report on the death of five people due to complications caused by some types of balloons.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Health, Dr Ahmad Al-Shatti, told KUNA that the ministry is keen to take the FDA reports into account and issuing a note to follow up on patients after the balloons or sleeve gastrectomy surgery. Al-Shatti stressed the ministry’s efforts to assume Kuwait as a regional center for prevention of chronic diseases, including conducting health surveys for the early detection of diseases and monitoring many programs to combat the disease.

The Ministry is following modern medical techniques, Al-Shatti said, adding that there are many types of balloons, but the approved for liquid filled balloons are five (Orbera, Re- Shape, Spatz and Elipse), including the gas-filled balloon (Obalon). Each have advantages and disadvantages. For his part, the former Minister of Health, Consultant Surgeon specializing in obesity surgery, Dr Mohammad Al-Jarallah, said healthy eating and exercise, in addition to weight management surgeries, are considered the best solutions for obesity.

“Elipse and Obalon are considered of the best balloons, where Elipse does not require any anesthesia and weight 700 grams, while the second is light on the stomach (three grams) and the patient needs three balloons to achieve the goal,” Al-Jarallah said. Diabetic obese patients’ should use balloons in connection with the reduction of blood sugar, while the morbidly obese should go for sleeve gastrectomy surgery as a guaranteed treatment for blood sugar and blood pressure, he added, for his part, Dr Khaled Al-Zamel, Specialist General Digestive and Bariatric Surgery at Amiri Hospital, said liquid balloons are placed in patient’s stomach after anesthesia, then filled with saline, while the gas balloons are swallowed orally through a capsule without anesthesia, and then filled with nitrogen gas. Removing it needs an endoscope with local anesthesia.

 

The liquid-filled balloons stay in the patient stomach from four months to a year, while the gas-filled balloons could stay for six months, Al-Zamel pointed out, as leaving the balloon longer or fill it more will cause health complications. Dr Al-Zamel warned obesity patients who had already done the laparoscopic gastric banding or the sleeve gastrectomy surgery of also having the balloons, as such step would be “dangerous”.

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