Metabolic Health Index (MHI): assessment of comorbidity in bariatric patients based on biomarkers

Saskia L.M. van Loon (Corresponding author), Ruben Deneer, Simon W. Nienhuijs, Anna Wilbik, Uzay Kaymak, Natal van Riel, Volkher Scharnhorst, Arjen-Kars Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
245 Downloads (Pure)


PURPOSE: The focus of bariatric surgery is reduction of weight, reflected in body mass index (BMI). However, the resolution of comorbidity is a second important outcome indicator. The degree of comorbidity is hard to quantify objectively as comorbidities develop gradually and are interdependent. Multiple scoring systems quantifying comorbidity exist but they lack continuity and objectivity. In analogy with BMI as index for weight, the Metabolic Health Index (MHI) is developed as objective quantification of metabolic health status. Laboratory data were used as comorbidities affect biomarkers. Conversely, laboratory data can be used as objectively obtained variables to describe comorbidity.

METHODS: Laboratory data were collected and crosschecked by national quality registry entries. Machine learning was applied to develop an ordinal logistic regression model, using 4 clinical and 32 laboratory input variables. The output was mathematically transformed into a continuous score for intuitive interpretation, ranging from 1 to 6 (MHI).

RESULTS: In total, 4778 data records of 1595 patients were used. The degree of comorbidity is best described by age at phlebotomy, estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR), and concentrations of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), triglycerides, and potassium. The model is independent of day of sampling and type of surgery. Mean MHI was significantly different between patient subgroups with increasing number of comorbidities.

CONCLUSION: The MHI reflects severity of comorbidity, enabling objective assessment of a bariatric patient's metabolic health state, regardless day of sampling and surgery type. Next to weight-focused outcome measures like %TWL, the MHI can serve as outcome measure for metabolic health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-724
Number of pages11
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Biomarkers
  • Diabetes
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Hypertension
  • Machine learning
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Outcome measure
  • Value based health care


Dive into the research topics of 'Metabolic Health Index (MHI): assessment of comorbidity in bariatric patients based on biomarkers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this