For months, health experts have cautioned that obese patients are more likely to be hospitalized and need mechanical ventilation if they contract COVID-19. Experts say they are 50% more likely to die from the virus.
Now, researchers say prior bariatric surgery may reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
More than 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, which health experts say can impair the immune system and increase the risk of serious illness from coronavirus.
Ali Aminian, MD, Director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at Cleveland Clinic, has studied 363 COVID-19 patients, and some, had a past history of weight loss surgery, while others did not have surgery and had a BMI of 40 or more at the time they tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Aminian found that in patients with severe obesity, 42% required hospital admission after contracting COVID-19. However, in group of patients who had bariatric surgery before, only 18% required hospital admission after COVID-19.
According to doctors, 13% of the patients without surgery were admitted to the ICU, 7% needed ventilators, and 2% died. None of the patients who had bariatric surgery were admitted to the ICU, none needed ventilators, and none died. The results suggest that after weight loss, patients become healthier and are better able to fight the virus, doctors say.
If the results are confirmed by future studies, doctors can add this to the list of health benefits of bariatric surgery.