Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of the late Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, died on January 12, 2023, at the age of 54. She was rushed to a hospital in California after suffering a cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office has revealed that her death was caused by a bowel obstruction, a rare but serious complication of a weight-loss surgery she had undergone years ago. In this article, we will explore what a bowel obstruction is, how it can be caused by weight-loss surgery, and what are the signs and symptoms of this condition.
What is a bowel obstruction?
A bowel obstruction is a blockage in the small intestine, which is the part of the digestive system that absorbs nutrients from food. The blockage can prevent food and fluids from passing through, causing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. If left untreated, a bowel obstruction can lead to serious complications such as infection, tissue death, perforation or rupture of the intestine, and sepsis (a life-threatening response to infection).
How can weight-loss surgery cause a bowel obstruction?
Weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a procedure that alters the digestive system to help people lose weight. There are different types of weight-loss surgery, such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastric banding, and duodenal switch. These surgeries can reduce the size of the stomach, change the way food is absorbed, or both.
According to CNN, Lisa Marie Presley had undergone bariatric surgery several years ago. The medical examiner’s report stated that her bowel obstruction was caused by adhesions (or scar tissue) that developed after the surgery. Adhesions are bands of fibrous tissue that can form between organs or tissues after an injury or inflammation. They can stick organs or tissues together and cause them to twist or pull. Adhesions are a common long-term complication of abdominal surgeries, including weight-loss surgeries.
Adhesions can cause bowel obstructions by narrowing or blocking the small intestine. This can happen months or years after the surgery. The risk of developing adhesions and bowel obstructions after weight-loss surgery depends on several factors, such as the type of surgery, the surgical technique, the patient’s age, gender, medical history, and lifestyle.
What are the signs and symptoms of a bowel obstruction?
The signs and symptoms of a bowel obstruction can vary depending on the location and severity of the blockage. Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or cramps that come and go
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating and distension
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Inability to pass gas or stool
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure
The medical examiner’s report indicated that Lisa Marie Presley was complaining of abdominal pain on the morning of her death. She likely developed a cardiac arrest because she had a severe complication from the bowel obstruction.
How is a bowel obstruction diagnosed and treated?
A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. If you experience any signs or symptoms of a bowel obstruction, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. A doctor will perform a physical examination and ask about your medical history and symptoms. You may also need some tests to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause and location of the blockage. These tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Barium enema
The treatment for a bowel obstruction depends on the cause and severity of the condition. Some possible treatments include:
- Fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration and restore balance
- Nasogastric tube to decompress the stomach and relieve nausea and vomiting
- Medications to reduce pain, inflammation, or infection
- Surgery to remove the blockage or repair the intestine
How can you prevent a bowel obstruction after weight-loss surgery?
If you have had weight-loss surgery, you should follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to prevent complications such as adhesions and bowel obstructions. Some general tips include:
- Eat small, frequent meals that are high in protein and low in fat and sugar
- Chew your food well and drink plenty of fluids
- Avoid foods that are hard to digest or cause gas, such as nuts, seeds, popcorn, beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements as prescribed by your doctor
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake
- Seek medical attention if you have any signs or symptoms of a bowel obstruction or other complications
Lisa Marie Presley’s cause of death was a bowel obstruction, a rare but serious complication of a weight-loss surgery she had undergone years ago. A bowel obstruction is a blockage in the small intestine that can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. If left untreated, it can lead to infection, tissue death, perforation or rupture of the intestine, and sepsis. A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention and treatment. If you have had weight-loss surgery, you should follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to prevent complications such as adhesions and bowel obstructions.