According to estimates, 6% of American adults have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 35% of those COPD patients are considered obese. In addition to being common among COPD patients, studies have also suggested that obesity leads to a higher risk of acute exacerbations, indicating that obesity may be a risk factor.
Now a U.S. study suggests that obese people with COPD who get weight loss surgery may go to the hospital less often with acute breathing problems after their operations. The study found that among obese adults with COPD, those who had bariatric surgery to lose weight, needed to go to the emergency room or have inpatient care half as often as before surgery.
The researchers examined data on 481 obese adults aged 40 to 65 who had COPD and underwent bariatric surgery in California, Florida, and Nebraska. They followed patients from 2005 through 2011 to see how hospital and emergency room visits for COPD in the two years before weight loss surgery compared to the two years afterwards.
At the start of the study, when patients were 13 to 24 months away from getting their operations, 28% of them had an emergency department (ED) or hospital visit for acute COPD symptoms. During the second year of the study, the 12 months right before surgery, these rates didn’t change much, but compared with that first year of the study, the chances of an ED or hospital visit dropped by 65% in the first year after bariatric surgery.
Just 12% of patients had a COPD visit during that time. During the last year of the study, 13 to 24 months after surgery, the odds of an ED or hospital visit were 61% lower than in the first year of the study. These findings suggest that benefits of bariatric surgery may extend beyond remission of chronic health problems associated with obesity to include COPD and other respiratory conditions.
If you are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation at VIP SURG. Their expert team can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.