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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 103-108

Epicardial fat and its association with cardiovascular risk: A cross-sectional observational study


1 Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Minnesota, USA
2 Division of Biomedical Statistics and informatics, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Correspondence Address:
Ramil Goel
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, Arizona, 13400 E. Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85259
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1995-705X.76801

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Background: The association between visceral obesity and cardiovascular risk has been well described. Some studies show a proportional relationship between the presence of visceral obesity and epicardial fat. Measuring the amount of epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) can be a novel parameter that is inexpensive and easy to obtain and may be helpful in cardiovascular risk stratification. However, the relationship between epicardial fat and cardiac function and that between epicardial fat and cardiac risk factors is less well described. Objectives: To evaluate the association between echocardiographic epicardial fat and the morphologic and physiologic changes observed at echocardiography and to evaluate the association between epicardial fat and cardiac risk factors. A cross-sectional study of 97 echocardiographic studies (females, n = 42) was conducted. Two groups were identified: epicardial fat ≥ 5 mm (group I) and <5 mm (group II). Results: Epicardial fat >5 mm was associated with LA enlargement, with lower ejection fraction, increased left ventricular mass, and abnormal diastolic function. On a multivariable regression analysis, all these parameters also correlated individually with EAT thickness independent of age. Hyperglycemia (DM), systolic hypertension, and lipid parameters for metabolic syndrome showed a trend for positive association, but this was not statistically significant. The association was not significant even for higher cutoff limits of EAT thickness. Conclusion: Epicardial fat >5 mm is associated with cardiac abnormalities on echocardiography. This is a sensitive assessment of body fat distribution, is easily available at echocardiography, and is simple to acquire at no added cost. Further studies looking at the appropriate cut-off thickness of EAT and the sites of measurement to be used are needed. Comparison of this simple and inexpensive measure with other measures of obesity, such as waist-hip ratio, body mass index, Dexa scan of visceral fat, and magnetic resonance imaging of visceral, are needed.


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