Losa Marie Presley Cause of Death: How a Weight-Loss Surgery Led to Her Fatal Bowel Obstruction

Losa Marie Presley, the only child of the legendary rock ‘n’ roll singer Elvis Presley, died of a bowel obstruction on January 12, 2023, at the age of 54. The bowel obstruction was a result of adhesions caused by a weight-loss surgery that she underwent several years ago, according to the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office. In this article, we will explore how a weight-loss surgery can lead to such a fatal complication and what are the signs and symptoms of a bowel obstruction.

What is a bowel obstruction and how does it happen?

A bowel obstruction is a condition where the small or large intestine is blocked, preventing the passage of food, fluids, and gas. This can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. A bowel obstruction can be caused by various factors, such as:

  • Colon cancer or other tumors that grow inside or outside the intestine
  • Hernias, where a part of the intestine bulges through a weak spot in the abdominal wall
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, that cause inflammation and swelling of the intestine
  • Diverticulitis, where small pouches in the colon become infected and inflamed
  • Adhesions, where scar tissue forms after surgeries or infections and sticks the intestine to other organs or tissues

According to the medical examiner’s report, Losa Marie Presley’s bowel obstruction was caused by adhesions that formed after a weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, that she had several years ago. This is a known long-term complication of this type of surgery, according to the report.

What is a weight-loss surgery and how does it cause adhesions?

A weight-loss surgery is a surgical procedure that aims to reduce the size of the stomach or bypass a part of the intestine to limit the amount of food and calories that a person can consume. There are different types of weight-loss surgeries, such as:

  • Gastric bypass, where a small pouch is created from the upper part of the stomach and connected to the lower part of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine
  • Gastric sleeve, where a large portion of the stomach is removed, leaving a narrow tube-like shape
  • Gastric band, where a band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch that can hold only a small amount of food
  • Gastric balloon, where a balloon is inserted into the stomach and inflated, taking up space and making the person feel full

These surgeries can help people lose weight and improve their health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sleep apnea. However, they also carry some risks and complications, such as:

  • Infection, bleeding, or leakage at the site of the surgery
  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as anemia, osteoporosis, or vitamin B12 deficiency, due to reduced absorption of nutrients
  • Dumping syndrome, where food moves too quickly from the stomach to the intestine, causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or dizziness
  • Gallstones, where hard deposits of cholesterol or bile form in the gallbladder, causing pain or inflammation
  • Adhesions, where scar tissue forms after the surgery and binds the intestine to other organs or tissues, causing obstruction or twisting

Adhesions are one of the most common causes of bowel obstruction after a weight-loss surgery, according to a study published in the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. The study found that the incidence of bowel obstruction due to adhesions was 3.6% after gastric bypass, 1.5% after gastric sleeve, and 0.3% after gastric band. The risk of adhesions increases with the number and complexity of the surgeries, the study noted.

What are the signs and symptoms of a bowel obstruction due to adhesions?

A bowel obstruction due to adhesions can occur at any time after a weight-loss surgery, even years later. The signs and symptoms of a bowel obstruction may vary depending on the location and severity of the blockage, but they typically include:

  • Severe abdominal pain that comes and goes in waves
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating and distension of the abdomen
  • Inability to pass gas or stool
  • Fever and dehydration

A bowel obstruction due to adhesions is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, such as:

  • Perforation, where the intestine tears and leaks its contents into the abdominal cavity, causing infection and inflammation
  • Ischemia, where the blood supply to the intestine is cut off, causing tissue death and gangrene
  • Sepsis, where the infection spreads throughout the body, causing organ failure and shock
  • Death

According to the medical examiner’s report, Losa Marie Presley died of natural causes and her cardiac arrest was caused by a small bowel obstruction due to adhesions from her weight-loss surgery. It is unclear whether she had any symptoms or sought any medical help before her death. Her last public appearance was two days before her death, at the Golden Globes, where she looked healthy and happy.

How can a bowel obstruction due to adhesions be prevented and treated?

A bowel obstruction due to adhesions can be prevented by following some tips, such as:

  • Eating a balanced and nutritious diet that includes enough fiber, fluids, and vitamins
  • Avoiding foods that can cause gas, bloating, or constipation, such as beans, cabbage, dairy, or fried foods
  • Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Taking prescribed supplements or medications as directed by the doctor
  • Seeking medical attention if any signs or symptoms of a bowel obstruction occur

A bowel obstruction due to adhesions can be treated by different methods, depending on the situation, such as:

  • Non-surgical treatment, where the doctor may use a nasogastric tube to decompress the stomach, an enema to flush out the colon, or intravenous fluids to hydrate the body
  • Surgical treatment, where the doctor may perform a laparoscopy or a laparotomy to remove the adhesions and clear the blockage
  • Repeat surgery, where the doctor may perform another weight-loss surgery to correct any problems or complications from the previous one

Conclusion

Losa Marie Presley’s cause of death was a bowel obstruction due to adhesions from her weight-loss surgery. This is a rare but possible complication of this type of surgery that can occur at any time after the procedure. A bowel obstruction due to adhesions can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, and can lead to serious complications, such as perforation, ischemia, sepsis, or death. A bowel obstruction due to adhesions can be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and seeking medical attention if any symptoms occur. A bowel obstruction due to adhesions can be treated by non-surgical or surgical methods, depending on the situation.

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