Enteric hyperoxaluria, nephrolithiasis, and oxalate nephropathy: potentially serious and unappreciated complications of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass

Wayne K. Nelson, Scott G. Houghton, Dawn S. Milliner, John C. Lieske, Michael G. Sarr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

122 Scopus citations


Background: Neither the presence nor prevalence of enteric hyperoxaluria has been recognized after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP). We have noted a high rate of oxalate nephrolithiasis and even 2 patients with oxalate nephropathy in this patient population postoperatively. Our aim was to determine the frequency of the occurrence and effects of enteric hyperoxaluria after RYGBP. Methods: Retrospective review of all patients at our institution diagnosed with calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis or oxalate nephropathy after standard (n = 14) or distal (n = 9) RYGBP. The mean postoperative follow-up was 55 months. Results: A total of 23 patients (14 men and 9 women; mean age 45 years; mean preoperative body mass index 55 kg/m2) developed enteric hyperoxaluria after RYGBP, defined by the presence of oxalate nephropathy (n = 2) or calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis (n = 21) and increased 24-hour excretion of urinary oxalate and/or calcium oxalate supersaturation. Enteric hyperoxaluria was recognized after a mean weight loss of 46 kg at 29 months (range 2-85) after RYGBP. Two patients developed renal failure and required chronic hemodialysis. Of the 21 patients with nephrolithiasis, 14 had no history of nephrolithiasis preoperatively, and 19 of 21 required lithotripsy or other intervention. Of the 23 patients, 20 tested had increased oxalate excretion, and 14 of 15 tested had high urine calcium oxalate supersaturation. Conclusion: Enteric hyperoxaluria, nephrolithiasis, and oxalate nephropathy must be considered with the other risks of RYGBP. Efforts should be made to identify factors that predispose patients to developing hyperoxaluria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-485
Number of pages5
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005



  • Bariatric surgery
  • Gastric bypass
  • Hyperoxaluria
  • Kidney failure
  • Nephrolithiasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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