Will my Bariatric Surgery reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection?
Over the past few months, researchers worldwide discovered that obesity is THE Single most potential risk factor that can lead to a severe form of COVID-19, which may require hospitalization, intensive care, and ventilator support.
They also stated that obese people who had lost weight with the help of bariatric surgery and were subsequently exposed to Coronavirus infection were less likely to be hospitalized for COVID. The disease has less severe effects on weight loss patients compared to those with obesity. You can find the results of the study in the journal “Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases”.
Obesity is always a complicated disease that is triggered by many factors that make your immune system weak. The presence of obesity induces a chronic inflammatory state that results in excessive cytokine production and small proteins involved in the immune response.
Similarly, Coronavirus infection also triggers your body’s immune system to produce excess cytokines. Excessive cytokine production in the body tends to damage various organs. This could partly explain COVID infection in obese patients, says Dr Venugopal Pareek, Bariatric & Laparoscopic Surgeon at Care Hospitals, Hyderabad.
As a result of obesity, people are more likely to develop heart diseases, blood pressure, diabetic issues, metabolic disorders, kidney disorders, and blood clot formation. These conditions can have adverse effects when coupled with COVID-19, the infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In addition, obesity may also affect the respiratory system.
Many obese patients are at risk of having several underlying lung disorders, like sleep apnea and obesity hypoventilation syndrome, which might worsen the outcomes when infected with COVID-19.
Can Bariatric Surgery reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection?
Some research studies have indeed shown that bariatric surgery can reduce the risk of COVID19 complications. However, since COVID-19 outcomes are known to be adverse for obese patients, a group of expert doctors from London conducted a study focusing on whether weight loss surgery can prevent or minimize the complication of COVID-19 infection.
The researchers compared 33 patients who underwent bariatric surgery (20 patients underwent sleeve gastrectomy and 13 patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery) before they were infected with COVID19 were studied against 330 obese patients infected with the virus in the first wave of the pandemic.
The 33 patients who underwent surgical treatment were matched in a 1:10 ratio with obese patients without surgery to establish a cohort of 330 control patients with BMI ≥ 40 during SARS-CoV-2 testing.
18% of patients in the group of weight-loss surgery and 42% of patients in the control group were hospitalized after getting infected with COVID-19. Furthermore, 13% of patients were admitted to the ICU in the control group, kept 7% on mechanical ventilation, and 2.4% lost their lives. The surgical group did not experience any of these complications.
The study found that bariatric surgery significantly reduced the chances of hospitalization by 69% after being infected with COVID-19. In addition, none of the patients who had bariatric surgery required intensive care, ventilation support or dialysis, and no one died.
Therefore, patients who undergo bariatric surgery tend to be healthier and develop the strength to fight against viruses.
In the future, studies may confirm this benefit and consider adding it to the list of health benefits of bariatric surgery, which also include preventing heart disease, stroke, renal disease, controlling diabetes, hypertension, and fatty liver disease.
This pandemic is like a wake-up call to expose the health risks caused by obesity. If an obese person can lose weight, he will become healthy, and the risk of complications due to COVID-19 also reduces significantly. During this pandemic, obese patients should continue to be treated with the necessary medical and surgical interventions. Obese patients are likely to have better outcomes with better management of obesity.
To know more detailed information about bariatric surgery, contact Dr V Pareek, one of the best bariatric surgeons in Hyderabad. He has more than 18 years of experience in performing various bariatric surgeries successfully. Call +91 91-777-77715 to book an appointment with the doctor.