Objective: Pronounced weight loss after bariatric surgery was demonstrated to have significant beneficial effects on surrogates of early atherosclerosis. The aim of this prospective examination was to investigate whether these improvements of endothelial function and vascular structure are persistent in the long-term.

Design and Methods: A total of 52 obese adults were examined before and 5 years after bariatric surgery. Carotid intima media thickness (IMT), brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD), abdominal fat distribution, and metabolic parameters were determined. Additional 18 months data were available from 27 patients.

Results: After 5 years, mean weight loss ± SD of 25% ± 12 in all subjects was accompanied by known improvements in metabolism. Change in IMT was −0.02 mm ± 0.007, whereas FMD improved by +1.5% ± 0.5. In the subgroup IMT decreased by 0.04 mm ± 0.06 within the first 18 months, whereas no significant change was observed between 18 month and 5 years. FMD improved by 3.8% ± 0.6 after 18 months followed by a nonsignificant decrease of −1.4% ± 0.9.

Conclusions: These long-term results demonstrate that bariatric surgery-induced weight loss improves both functional and structural markers of early atherosclerosis providing further evidence for the beneficial effects of weight loss on obesity-associated alterations of the vasculature.