Obesity-related Cardiorenal Disease: The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery

Nat Rev Nephrol. 2013 Sep;9(9):539-51. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2013.145. Epub 2013 Aug 6.


The inexorable increase in the prevalence of obesity is a global health concern, which will result in a concomitant escalation in health-care costs. Obesity-related metabolic syndrome affects approximately 25% of adults and is associated with cardiovascular and renal disease. The heart and kidneys are physiologically interdependent, and the pathological effects of obesity can lead to cardiorenal syndrome and, ultimately, kidney and heart failure. Weight loss can prevent or ameliorate obesity-related cardiorenal syndrome, but long-term maintenance of a healthy weight has been difficult to achieve through lifestyle changes or pharmacotherapy. Bariatric surgery offers both sustained weight loss and favourable metabolic changes, including dramatic improvements in glycaemic control and symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Procedures such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass offer immediate multisystemic benefits, including bile flow alteration, reduced gastric size, anatomical gut rearrangement and altered flow of nutrients, vagal manipulation and enteric hormone modulation. In patients with cardiorenal syndrome, bariatric surgery also offers renoprotection and cardioprotection, and attenuates both kidney and heart failure by improving organ perfusion and reversing metabolic dysfunction. However, further research is required to understand how bariatric surgery acts on the cardiorenal axis, and its pioneering role in novel treatments and interventions for cardiorenal disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery / methods*
  • Global Health
  • Heart Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Heart Diseases* / etiology
  • Heart Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Kidney Diseases* / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Obesity* / complications
  • Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Obesity* / surgery
  • Prevalence
  • Weight Loss / physiology*