TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Prior metabolic surgery and subsequent weight loss are associated with reduced rates of hospital admission for patients with obesity who are infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), according to a study published online Nov. 23 in Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases.

Ali Aminian, M.D., from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues examined the association between prior metabolic surgery and COVID-19 severity in patients with severe obesity. Thirty-three patients with a prior history of metabolic surgery who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were identified and propensity-matched to 330 control nonsurgical patients with a body mass index (BMI) of ≥40 kg/m2.

The average BMI in the surgical group was 49.1 ± 8.8 kg/m2 before surgery and decreased to 37.2 ± 7.1 kg/m2 at the time of SARS-CoV-2 testing compared with 46.7 ± 6.4 kg/m2 in the control group. The researchers found that 18.2 and 42.1 percent of patients in the metabolic surgery and control groups, respectively, were admitted to the hospital in the univariate analysis. Compared with control patients with obesity, a prior history of metabolic surgery was associated with a lower rate of hospital admission in the multivariate analysis (odds ratio, 0.31). Overall, 13.0, 6.7, and 1.5 percent of control patients required intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, and dialysis, respectively, and 2.4 percent died, while none of these outcomes occurred in the metabolic surgery group.

“If confirmed by future studies, this can be added to the long list of health benefits of bariatric surgery,” Aminian said in a statement.

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