Respiratory Function in Superobese Patients before and after Bariatric Surgery- a Randomised Controlled Trial

Monika Fagevik Olsen1-3, *, Malin Wiklund1, 3, Hans Lonroth2, Torsten Olbers2
1 Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy
2 Dept of Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE 413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden
3 Department of Occupational and Physical Therapy, Sahlgrenska Academy, SE 405 30, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

© 2012 Olsén et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Physical Therapy, Sahlgrenska University Hospital SE 413 45 Göteborg, Sweden; Tel: +46 31 342 11 95; Fax: +46 31 342 43 41; E-mail:



Respiratory function decreases and risk of sleep apnoea increases with the degree of obesity. The impairment caused by obesity is a risk factor for complications in the perioperative period.


The aim of this randomised and controlled trial was to investigate respiratory function after bariatric surgery in superobese patients following laparoscopic gastric bypass (LGPB) or duodenal switch (LDS).


Superobese patients were randomised to undergo LGPB (n=16) or LDS (n=14). The procedures for anaesthesia, surgery and postoperative care were standardised. Spirometry and oximetry were assessed before surgery, after one and two days and one and two years postoperatively. The patients also answered a questionnaire about sleeping and snoring.


Respiratory function transiently deteriorated significantly during the immediate postoperative period and significantly more after LDS. There were no significant differences between the groups after one and two years. Twentynine of the patients snored preoperatively and 22 two years after surgery. Eight reported sleep apnoea preoperatively and one after two years.


In the immediate postoperative phase, respiratory function is more impaired after LDS than LGPB. One and two years postoperatively all the patients' spirometry results were within normal range and they reported less problems with snoring and sleep apnoea.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery, obesity surgery, postoperative, respiration, sleep apnoea, snoring, spirometry.