Asthma medication usage is significantly reduced following bariatric surgery.



Asthma is an important healthcare problem affecting millions in the United States. Additionally, a large proportion of patients with asthma suffer from obesity. These patients exhibit poor asthma control and reduced therapy response, increasing utilization of healthcare resources. Pulmonary symptoms improve after bariatric surgery (BS), and we hypothesized that asthma medication usage would decrease following BS.


A retrospective data analysis was performed in adult patients from a single institution's database. Patients with obesity using at least one asthma medication pre-operatively who underwent BS were studied for up to 3-years post-operation. Poisson generalized linear mixed models for repeated measures were used to evaluate the effects of time and procedure type on the number of asthma medication.


Bariatric patients with at least one prescribed asthma medication (mean 1.4 ± 0.6) were included (n = 751). The mean age at time of operation was 46.8 ± 11.6 years, mean weight was 295.9 ± 57 lbs, and mean body mass index (BMI) was 49 ± 8.2 kg/m2; 87.7% were female, 33.4% had diabetes, 44.2% used gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) medication, and 64.4% used hypertension medication. The most common procedure was Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (79%), followed by sleeve gastrectomy (10.7%), adjustable gastric banding (8.1%), and duodenal switch (2.3%). The mean number of prescribed asthma medications among all procedures decreased by 27% at 30 days post-operation (p < 0.0001), 37% at 6 months (p < 0.0001), 44% at 1 year (p < 0.0001), and 46% at 3 years (p < 0.0001) after adjusting for risk factors. No significant differences in medication use over time between procedure types were observed. In the adjusted analysis, the mean number of asthma medications was 12% higher in patients using at least one GERD medication (p = 0.015) and 8% higher with 10-unit increase in pre-operative BMI (p = 0.006).


BS significantly decreases asthma medication use starting 30 days post-operation with a sustained reduction for up to 3 years.





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Publication Info

Guerron, Alfredo D, Camila B Ortega, Hui-Jie Lee, Gerardo Davalos, Jennifer Ingram and Dana Portenier (2019). Asthma medication usage is significantly reduced following bariatric surgery. Surgical endoscopy, 33(6). pp. 1967–1975. 10.1007/s00464-018-6500-x Retrieved from

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Jennifer Leigh Ingram

Associate Professor in Medicine

Dr. Ingram's research interests focus on the study of airway remodeling in human asthma. Proliferation, migration, and invasion of airway fibroblasts are key features of airway remodeling that contribute to diminished lung function over time. Dr. Ingram uses molecular biology approaches to define the effects of interleukin-13 (IL-13), a cytokine abundantly produced in the asthmatic airway, in the human airway fibroblast. She has identified important regulatory functions of several proteins prevalent in asthma that control fibroblast growth and pro-fibrotic growth factor production in response to IL-13. By understanding these pathways and their role in human asthma and the chronic effects of airway remodeling, novel treatment strategies may be developed.


Dana Dale Portenier

Associate Professor of Surgery

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