Bariatric Surgery as a Bridge to Heart Transplantation in Morbidly Obese Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Cardiol Rev. 2022 Jan-Feb;30(1):1-7. doi: 10.1097/CRD.0000000000000346.


Class 2 obesity or greater [body mass index (BMI) >35 kg/m2] is a relative contraindication for heart transplant due to its associated perioperative risks and mortality. Whether bariatric surgery can act as a potential bridging procedure to heart transplantation is unknown. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to investigate the role of bariatric surgery on improving transplant candidacy in patients with end-stage heart failure (ESHF). MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and PubMed databases were searched up to September 2019 for studies that performed bariatric surgery on patients with severe obesity and ESHF. Outcomes of interest included incidence of patients listed for heart transplantation after bariatric surgery, proportion of patients that successfully received transplant, the change in BMI after bariatric surgery, and 30-day complications. Pooled estimates were calculated using a random-effects meta-analysis of proportions. Eleven studies with 98 patients were included. Mean preoperative BMI was 44.9 (2.1) kg/m2 and BMI after surgery was 33.2 (2.3) kg/m2 with an absolute BMI reduction of 26.1%. After bariatric surgery, 71% [95% confidence interval (CI), 55-86%] of patients with ESHF were listed for transplantation. The mean time from bariatric surgery to receiving a heart transplant was 14.9 (4.0) months. Of the listed patients, 57% (95% CI, 39-74%) successfully received heart transplant. The rate of 30-day mortality after bariatric surgery was 0%, and the 30-day major and minor complications after bariatric surgery was 28% (95% CI, 10-49%). Bariatric surgery can facilitate sustained weight loss in obese patients with ESHF, improving heart transplant candidacy and the incidence of transplantation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Obesity, Morbid* / surgery
  • Weight Loss