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The Effect of Fasting during Ramadan on Outcomes after Bariatric Surgery at an Academic Medical Center in the Middle East



Ramadan is characterized by a month of fasting between dawn and sunset. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is located in the United Arab Emirates, where the majority of our patients observe Ramadan. In many practices, bariatric surgery has been delayed until after Ramadan in order to avoid postoperative complications. However, there are no studies that evaluate this theory.


Our study aimed to evaluate perioperative outcomes between bariatric surgeries performed before/during Ramadan and at times distant to Ramadan.


All patients who underwent primary bariatric surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi between September 2015 and July 2019 were retrospectively reviewed. The Pre-Ramadan (PR) cohort included patients that underwent surgery during the month of Ramadan and up to 3 months before Ramadan. The Non-Ramadan (NR) cohort included patients from the remainder 8 months.


Our study included 542 patients: 185 patients in the PR cohort and 357 patients in the NR cohort. Baseline characteristics were similar. There were no statistically significant differences in perioperative outcomes, including emergency department (ED) visits (23.2% PR vs. 24.4% NR, p = .77), readmission rates (2.2% PR vs. 4.5% NR, p = .17), reoperation (1.1% PR vs. 3.6% NR, p = .09), and complications within 30 days (3.8% PR vs. 7.0% NR, p = .13).


There is no difference among patients who undergo surgery before/during Ramadan and at times distant to Ramadan. Based on this data, there does not appear to be an increased risk of performing bariatric surgery prior to or during Ramadan in a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary program.

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Correspondence to Matthew Kroh.

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Dr. Matthew Kroh has no conflict of interest relevant to this publication. He is a consultant for Medtronic and Ethicon. The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this publication and nothing to disclose.

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Tat, C., Barajas-Gamboa, J.S., Del Gobbo, G.D. et al. The Effect of Fasting during Ramadan on Outcomes after Bariatric Surgery at an Academic Medical Center in the Middle East. OBES SURG 30, 4446–4451 (2020).

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  • Ramadan
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic surgery
  • Complications