Author(s): Gagn DJ, Papasavas PK, Dovec EA, Urbandt JE, Caushaj PF
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Immunocompromised patients are at high risk of medical complications. Immunosuppression might be a relative contraindication to bariatric surgery. We describe our experience with immunosuppressed patients undergoing bariatric surgery and review the safety, efficacy, results, and outcomes. METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected data. All patients taking long-term immunosuppressive medications or with a diagnosis of an immunosuppressive condition were included in this study. Data on weight loss, co-morbidities, complications, and postoperative immunosuppression were collected. RESULTS: From July 1999 to February 2008, 1566 patients underwent bariatric surgery. Of these 1566 patients, 61 (3.9\%) were taking immunosuppressive medications or had an immunosuppressive condition. Of these 61 patients, 49 were taking immunosuppressive medications for asthma, autoimmune disorders, endocrine deficiency, or chronic inflammatory disorders. The medications included oral, inhaled, and topical glucocorticoids for 39 patients and other immunosuppressive or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs for 24 patients. The bariatric procedures included laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in 55, laparoscopic revisional procedures in 5, and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in 1. No patient died perioperatively. A total of 26 complications occurred in 20 patients. The average percentage of excess weight loss was 72\% (range 20-109\%) at 1 year postoperatively. At a median postoperative follow-up of 18 months (range 2-68.6), 25 (51\%) of 49 patients no longer required immunosuppressive medications owing to improvement of their underlying disease. Obesity-related health problems (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, asthma) had resolved or improved in 80-100\% of patients. CONCLUSION: The results of our study have shown that immunocompromised patients can safely undergo bariatric surgery with good weight loss results and improvement in co-morbidities. A large percentage of patients were able to discontinue immunosuppressive medications postoperatively.
This article was published in Surg Obes Relat Dis
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research