Effects of Bariatric Surgery on COVID-19: a Multicentric Study from a High Incidence Area

Federico Marchesi, Marina Valente, Matteo Riccò, Matteo Rottoli, Edoardo Baldini, Fouzia Mecheri, Stefano Bonilauri, Sergio Boschi, Paolo Bernante, Andrea Sciannamea, Jessica Rolla, Alice Francescato, Ruggero Bollino, Concetto Cartelli, Andrea Lanaia, Francesca Anzolin, Paolo Del Rio, Diletta Fabbi, Gabriele Luciano Petracca, Francesco TartamellaGiorgio Dalmonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The favorable effects of bariatric surgery (BS) on overall pulmonary function and obesity-related comorbidities could influence SARS-CoV-2 clinical expression. This has been investigated comparing COVID-19 incidence and clinical course between a cohort of patients submitted to BS and a cohort of candidates for BS during the spring outbreak in Italy. Materials and Methods: From April to August 2020, 594 patients from 6 major bariatric centers in Emilia-Romagna were administered an 87-item telephonic questionnaire. Demographics, COVID-19 incidence, suggestive symptoms, and clinical outcome parameters of operated patients and candidates to BS were compared. The incidence of symptomatic COVID-19 was assessed including the clinical definition of probable case, according to World Health Organization criteria. Results: Three hundred fifty-three operated patients (Op) and 169 candidates for BS (C) were finally included in the statistical analysis. While COVID-19 incidence confirmed by laboratory tests was similar in the two groups (5.7% vs 5.9%), lower incidence of most of COVID-19-related symptoms, such as anosmia (p: 0.046), dysgeusia (p: 0.049), fever with rapid onset (p: 0.046) were recorded among Op patients, resulting in a lower rate of probable cases (14.4% vs 23.7%; p: 0.009). Hospitalization was more frequent in C patients (2.4% vs 0.3%, p: 0.02). One death in each group was reported (0.3% vs 0.6%). Previous pneumonia and malignancies resulted to be associated with symptomatic COVID-19 at univariate and multivariate analysis. Conclusion: Patients submitted to BS seem to develop less severe SARS-CoV-2 infection than subjects suffering from obesity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalObesity Surgery
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Bariatric surgery
  • COVID-19
  • Obesity
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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