Asthma incidence and severity are increased in obese populations. Systematic reviews have shown benefit from weight-loss interventions on asthma outcomes, but the role of bariatric surgery is still unclear. In this review, cohorts of obese asthmatic patients undergoing bariatric surgery were examined regarding different asthma outcomes. The available data on patients who were followed up showed improvements in asthma control, exacerbation risk, asthma-related hospitalisation, medication use and airway hyperresponsiveness, with some patients not requiring further treatment for asthma. Follow-up duration was variable, being mostly of 1 year, with some studies reporting long-term outcomes after 5 years. The studies reviewed had many limitations, including small numbers of patients, lack of control arm in some studies and lack of standardisation of asthma diagnosis, classification and outcome measures, in addition to possible reporting bias. Data on small numbers of patients also show the possibility of benefit exclusively in nonallergic asthma. Larger, more stringent clinical trials are needed before recommending bariatric surgery for treatment of asthma.

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Cite this article as: Chaaban TA. Bariatric surgery: a potential cure for asthma? Eur Respir Rev 2019; 28: 190003 [https://doi.org/10.1183/16000617.0003-2019].