Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency after bariatric surgery

Maimoena S. S. Guman*, Nienke van Olst, Zehra G. Yaman, Rogier P. Voermans, Maurits L. de Brauw, Max Nieuwdorp, Victor E. A. Gerdes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Chronic abdominal complaints after bariatric surgery may be explained by pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI). Objectives: We aimed to evaluate the clinical value of the Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency Questionnaire (PEI-Q) as a screening tool to identify patients with a high probability of having PEI. Setting: Outpatient clinic for bariatric surgery. Methods: Patients scheduled for a screening or follow-up appointment were asked to complete the PEI-Q and the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index questionnaire (GIQLI). Postoperative patients with a high PEI-Q score (0,6) were offered a fecalelastase (FE) test (abnormal if <200 μg/g). Results: Between June 2020 and February 2021, a total of 1600 of 1629 PEI-Qs were completed, 1073 (67%) of which after surgery. The postoperative group consisted mostly of females (81.9%), aged 49.0 ± 10.6 years, with a total weight loss of 30.3% ± 8.8%. Among them, 63.4% had abnormal PEI-Q scores compared with 34.9% before surgery (P < .01). In contrast, the median GIQLI score increased (119 [interquartile range (IQR), 107–129.25] versus 110 [IQR, 95–121.75]) before surgery (P < .01). Additionally, 310 FE tests were performed, of which only 11.9% was suggestive of PEI. No correlation was found between the PEI-Q scores and FE levels (c-index .55). Conclusion: The PEI-Q in its current version is not able to distinguish complaints of PEI and bariatric surgery itself and therefore cannot be used as a screening tool for PEI. The specificity of the FE test seems to be reduced after surgery. Future research should include a more direct pancreatic function test, which may provide more insight into PEI after bariatric surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-452
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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