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original Houston Chronicle at chron.com
Renee Williams, the 841-pound woman thought to be the largest ever to receive gastric bypass surgery, died Sunday night of a massive heart attack.
Williams, 29, had undergone the increasingly popular solution to morbid obesity on Feb. 20 and was thought to be progressing well in the week and a half thereafter, said officials at Houston's Renaissance Hospital, where she had the surgery. But hospital officials today announced the sudden turn of events.
The procedure, once frowned on by mainstream doctors, has soared in popularity, with more than 140,000 expected to be performed this year. It makes the stomach smaller and bypasses part of the small intestine, resulting in a patient who feels full more quickly, has less of an appetite and absorbs fewer calories.
There's a small risk when it is performed on people with a BMI, or body mass index, between 35 and 60, but a signficantly larger one when the patient is the size of Williams, who had a BMI of 137.5.