OAGB is a bariatric procedure with excellent results while presumed to have a lower learning curve than classic RYGB. COVID-19 pandemic has severe ramifications in the global health system and this effect is amplified in obesity management due to both the fear of perioperative mortality of bariatric patients and the social stigma that often follows.
We retrospectively analyzed the data of 67 consecutive OAGBs performed in our center from March 2020 to end of December 2021.
47 patients were female, mean age was 41.64 while mean preoperative BMI was 50.45. Mean Hgb decrease was 1.43 postoperatively with mean hospital stay of 4.47 days. All procedures were performed by an attending surgeon as supervisor and two 5th year residents with bariatric surgery experience. There were 3 postoperative leaks, 2 of which resolved with conservative management. No patients were infected during their hospital stay while one patient was admitted to the COVID clinic due to a mild infection two months post operatively with an uneventful course. During the short follow-up period hypertension, diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea were significantly improved or disappeared while no patient reported symptoms of reflux esophagitis.
OAGB is feasible as a procedure, with an acceptable learning curve in tertiary centers. COVID pandemic did not decrease bariatric procedures; however one patient who was the only death in our study was admitted in ICU with 24 hours delay due to the decreased availability of ICUs during the pandemic, a factor to be considered during this period.