Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Women Aerobic Exercise Capacity

  • Hubert Dereppe
  • Kevin Forton
  • Nathalie Yaëlle Pauwen
  • Vitalie FaoroEmail author
Original Contributions



Bariatric surgery has a considerable positive effect on weight loss and on metabolic and cardiovascular risks. It has therefore been extensively used this last decade to overcome obesity. However, the impact of this surgery on exercise capacity remains unclear. The aim of this study is to clarify the impact of a surgically induced weight loss on aerobic exercise capacity (VO2max) in a specific middle-aged female population.


Forty-two women with a body mass index > 40 kg/m2 (age, 42 ± 13 years; weight, 117 ± 15 kg) underwent blood analyses and a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) before and 1 year after bariatric surgery. CPET was performed on a cycloergometer. The first ventilatory threshold (VT1) was measured according to the V-slope method.


Absolute VO2max was reduced by 10% after surgery (2.0 ± 0.4 vs 1.8 ± 0.4 l/min, p < 0.01) or increased when corrected for body weight (18 ± 4 vs 23 ± 4 l/min/kg, p < 0.001) or unchanged when expressed as percentage of predicted values (111 ± 21 vs 105 ± 22, p = 0.06). Weight loss did not affect ventilatory or chronotropic response but increased maximal respiratory exchange ratio (RER) (p < 0.001), decreased maximal O2pulse (p < 0.05) and VT1 in milliliters per minute (p < 0.01). By multivariable analysis, decreased absolute VO2max after weight loss was associated with increased maximal RER and reduced maximal O2pulse (p < 0.05, p < 0.01 respectively), possibly related to a muscular mass limitation.


Weight loss induced by bariatric surgery may reduce aerobic capacity in women in relation to muscle mass loss.


Obesity Weight loss VO2max Sleeve Gastric bypass 



The authors thank all the participants of this investigation, the nursing staff of the Cardiology Service (CHWAPI, Tournai and Erasmus Hospital) and the caregivers of the Orthonutrition Center for their excellent professional contribution.

Authors’ Contributions

HD and VF contributed to the conception and the design of the present study. HD and KF contributed to the acquisition of data. HD, KF, NP and VF contributed to the analysis or interpretation of the data. HD and VF drafted the manuscript and KF and NP reviewed the article critically for intellectual content.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of Informed Consent

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

Statement of Human and Animal Rights/Ethical Approval

The study was approved by the local Ethical Committee (Erasme University Hospital, reference P2019/179).


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CardiologyWallonie Picarde HospitalTournaiBelgium
  2. 2.Cardio-Pulmonary Exercise Laboratory, Faculty of Motor ScienceUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of CardiologyErasmus HospitalBrusselsBelgium

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