Past history of bariatric surgery is associated with a lower risk of Covid-19 hospitalization and intensive care unit admission.
Bariatric surgery is an operation that helps people lose weight by making changes to the digestive system.
Earlier studies have observed that obesity is a risk factor for developing a severe Covid-19 infection that can lead to hospital admission or use of ventilator support.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 70 per cent of US adults are overweight or have obesity, which may increase the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.
Obesity is known to create a chronic inflammatory state that causes excessive production of cytokines, which are small proteins involved in the immune response.
“Infection with the coronavirus also triggers the immune system to release cytokines, which may lead to excessive cytokine production that damages organs. That may partly explain the severity of infection in patients with obesity,” says Ali Aminian, M.D., Director of the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at Cleveland Clinic and principal investigator of the research.
Their study revealed that 18 per cent of patients in the weight-loss surgery group and 42 per cent of patients in the control group required hospitalization after contracting COVID-19.
Notably, 13 per cent of patients in the control group required ICU admission, 7 per cent required mechanical ventilation, and 2.4 per cent died. While none of these occurred in the surgical group.
Dr. Aminian added: “Patients after bariatric surgery become significantly healthier and can fight the virus better. If confirmed by future studies, this can be added to the long list of health benefits of bariatric surgery such as improvement of diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and prevention of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and death.”
Another Cleveland Clinic study showed that weight-loss surgery was associated with a 40 per cent reduction in risk of death and heart complications in patients with diabetes and obesity.
The findings of the study were published in the journal of Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases.