Background

Patients undergoing bariatric surgery have been shown to be at increased risk of pneumonia compared to the general population. Although postoperative pneumonia is uncommon, it represents a serious potential morbidity, but to our knowledge there are few papers looking at specific factors that increase this population’s likelihood of postoperative pneumonia. Our aim is to identify risk factors for postoperative pneumonia in patients having weight loss surgery.

Methods

MBSAQIP patient use files, 2015-2017 were queried for all patients who developed postoperative pneumonia after bariatric surgery. Patient characteristics were analyzed using Chi-square test to look at categorical variables. Logistic regression modeling was used to control for confounding variables. Significance was considered at p<0.05.

Results

553,750 patients had weight loss surgery. 1489 (0.27%) cases of postoperative pneumonia were identified. Each additional operative minute and each year of life significantly increased risk of pneumonia by 0.4% and 1.8%, respectively. Multiple other demographic and medical comorbidities were identified as risk factors (Table 1). Patients undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and duodenal switch were at significantly increased risk of pneumonia compared to gastric sleeve (OR 2.17 and 2.46), respectively.

Conclusions

We identified several significant risk factors for postoperative pneumonia in bariatric surgical patients which may help guide choice of operation. We suggest recognition of patients at increased risk of pneumonia after weight loss surgery and strategies to minimize this risk.