Gastric balloons linked to 12 deaths

US health authorities have issued a safety alert

US health authorities are warning doctors about the possible risk of death in patients who have liquid-filled intragastric balloons designed to promote weight loss.

Twelve patients worldwide have died since 2016, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The FDA has now issued a safety alert with the following recommendations for healthcare providers:

  • Instruct patients regarding symptoms of potentially life-threatening complications, such as balloon deflation, gastrointestinal obstruction, ulceration, and gastric and oesophageal perforation.
  • Monitor patients closely during the entire term of treatment with liquid-filled intragastric balloon systems for potential complications, including acute pancreatitis and spontaneous hyperinflation.

The 12 fatalities follow the death of a morbidly obese Australian woman who died in 2015 from