Obesity Surgery

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 1301–1308 | Cite as

Short- and Long-Term Effects of Bariatric Surgery on Vascular Phenotype

  • Lukas Streese
  • Karsten Königstein
  • Lara Goricki
  • Denis Infanger
  • Bettina Wölnerhanssen
  • Thomas Peters
  • Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss
  • Henner HanssenEmail author
Original Contributions



Retinal microvascular diameters and large artery stiffness are valid biomarkers of cardiovascular risk. This study assessed short- and long-term micro- and macrovascular improvements after bariatric surgery (BS).


Sixteen patients (44 ± 12 years) underwent BS in this observational study. Two weeks before as well as 6 weeks and 4 years after surgery, retinal vessel analysis and assessment of brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI), and anthropometry were performed. Three patients were lost to follow-up.


Six weeks after BS, retinal arteriolar diameters (CRAE) were wider (180.1 μm vs. 188.1 μm; p = 0.001), and the arteriolar-to-venular diameter ratio (AVR) was higher (0.82 vs. 0.86; p < 0.001) compared to baseline levels. During the 4 years of follow-up, the retinal changes sustained but further improvements did not occur. Both indices of large artery stiffness, baPWV and CAVI, remained unchanged 6 weeks and 4 years after surgery.


Retinal microvascular phenotype improved 6 weeks after BS. The improvements in microvascular health were maintained during 4 years of follow-up but, despite significant further reductions in body mass index, did not improve further long-term. baPWV and CAVI were unaffected after surgery indicating that BS primarily affects microvascular phenotype rather than large artery stiffness. Retinal vessel imaging seems to be a feasible diagnostic tool to monitor microvascular health after BS. Normalization of BMI and blood pressure may be necessary to achieve long-term improvement of large artery phenotype after BS.


Retinal microcirculation Arterial stiffness Obesity Bariatric surgery Pulse wave velocity Cardio-ankle vascular index 

Non-standard Abbreviations


retinal arteriolar-to-venular diameter ratio


brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (m/s)


body mass index (kg/m2)


bariatric surgery


cardio-ankle vascular index


central retinal arteriolar equivalent (μm)


central retinal venular equivalent (μm)


mean arterial pressure (mmHg)


pulse wave velocity (m/s)



We would like to thank all study participants and supporting staff wholeheartedly, which facilitated the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lukas Streese
    • 1
  • Karsten Königstein
    • 1
  • Lara Goricki
    • 1
  • Denis Infanger
    • 1
  • Bettina Wölnerhanssen
    • 2
  • Thomas Peters
    • 2
  • Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss
    • 1
  • Henner Hanssen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, Division Sports and Exercise MedicineUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.St. Clara Research Ltd, St. ClaraspitalBaselSwitzerland

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