Surg Endosc. 2022 Jun 22. doi: 10.1007/s00464-022-09377-6. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 epidemic imposed significant stressors on individuals and changed how medical care is delivered. The affect that this stress has placed on the field of bariatric surgery and the associated outcomes is not well established.
METHODS: A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database from a single academic institution was conducted. Weight loss and comorbidity outcomes were compared between a cohort of patients operated on during the pandemic and a matched group operated on prior to COVID-19. GAD-7 and PHQ-9 questionnaires were used to assess for anxiety and depression, respectively.
RESULTS: A total of 329 and 155 patients were enrolled in the pre-pandemic and COVID-19 groups respectively. There were no significant differences in pre-operative BMI (p = 0.437) or comorbidities: Type II DM (p = 0.810), hypertension (p = 0.879), sleep apnea (p = 0.502), and hyperlipidemia (p = 0.227). Post-operatively, weight loss was comparable at all time points out to 1 year. Type II DM resolution rates were higher in the control cohort at 6 months (p = 0.007), but not at 12 months (p = 1.000). There was no statistically significant difference in resolution rates between the control group and the COVID-19 group for the other measured comorbidities. There was no difference in objective measures of anxiety and depression when comparing the two groups (both p > 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how society and medical systems function. Focusing on pre-operative dietary training and screening for inadequately managed psychological comorbidities yielded similar weight loss outcomes notwithstanding the significant societal and individual stressors with which patients were faced.