The number of obese patients undergoing cardiac and noncardiac surgery is rapidly increasing because they are more prone to concomitant diseases, such as diabetes, thrombosis, sleep-disordered breathing, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Even if guidelines are already available to manage anesthesia and surgery of obese patients, the assessment of the perioperative morbidity and mortality from heart and brain disorders in morbidly obese surgical patients will be challenging in the next years. The present review will recapitulate the new mechanisms underlying the heart-brain axis (HBA) vulnerability during the perioperative period in healthy and morbidly obese patients. Finally, we will describe the nutrigenomics approach, an emerging noninvasive dietary tool, to maintain a healthy body weight and to minimize the HBA propensity to injury in obese individuals undergoing all types of surgery by personalized intake of plant compounds that may regulate the switch from health to disease in an epigenetic manner. Our review provides current insights into the mechanisms underlying HBA response in obese surgical patients and how they are modulated by epigenetically active food constituents.
Keywords: obesity, epigenetics, functional foods, cardioprotection, neuroprotection, perioperative medicine.
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