Bariatric surgery and its impact on cardiovascular disease and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Int J Cardiol. 2014 Apr 15;173(1):20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.02.026. Epub 2014 Feb 24.


Background: Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve cardiovascular risk factors but long term benefits for survival and cardiovascular events are still uncertain.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE for parallel group studies that evaluated the clinical outcomes associated with bariatric surgery as compared to non-surgical treatment. Relevant studies were pooled using random effects meta-analysis for risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiovascular events and mortality.

Results: 14 studies met the inclusion criteria, which included 29,208 patients who underwent bariatric surgery and 166,200 nonsurgical controls (mean age 48 years, 30% male, follow up period ranged from 2 years to 14.7 years). Four studies were considered at moderate-high risk of bias, whilst ten studies were at moderate or lower risk of bias. Compared to nonsurgical controls there was more than 50% reduction in mortality amongst patients who had bariatric surgery (OR 0.48 95% CI 0.35-0.64, I2=86%, 14 studies). In pooled analysis of four studies with adjusted data, bariatric surgery was associated with a significantly reduced risk of composite cardiovascular adverse events (OR 0.54 95% CI 0.41-0.70, I2=58%). Bariatric surgery was also associated with significant reduction in specific endpoints of myocardial infarction (OR 0.46 95% CI 0.30-0.69, I2=79%, 4 studies) and stroke (OR 0.49 95% CI 0.32-0.75, I2=59%, 4 studies).

Conclusions: Data from observational studies indicates that patients undergoing bariatric surgery have a reduced risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiovascular events and mortality compared to non-surgical controls. Future randomized studies should investigate whether these observations are reproduced in a clinical trials setting.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Cardiovascular disease; Mortality; Myocardial infarction; Obesity; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Mortality / trends
  • Obesity / mortality
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Observational Studies as Topic / mortality
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Weight Loss / physiology