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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2002 Oct;12(5):275-83.

Relationship of visceral fat distribution to angiographically assessed coronary artery disease: results in subjects with or without diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.

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Department of Endocrinology, Institute of Medical and Surgical Sciences, S. Donato Hospital, University of Milan, Via Morandi 30, 20097 S. Donato Milanese, Milano, Italy.



To evaluate the relationship between the degree of coronary artery disease (CAD) and the amount of visceral fat deposition in a mixed population of CAD patients with or without diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and with different body weights.


A total of 55 patients undergoing coronary angiography (43 men and 12 women with a mean age of 58.9 +/- 1.1 years, range 37-70, and a mean body mass index [BMI] of 27.9 +/- 0.4, range 21.3-38.7) were studied in order to establish whether the coronary damage exclusively depends on intra-abdominal adipose tissue per se, or may be influenced by the coexistence of diabetes or IGT. Twenty-one subjects were non-diabetic, 13 had type 2 diabetes, and 21 IGT. Hypertension was found in 47% and dyslipidemia in 55%; 69% were smokers. The angiographic evaluation of CAD was made using the method of Gensini, and computed tomography (CT) was used to estimate the amount of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) based on a single scan at L4 level. Clinical, anthropometric, biochemical and hormonal variables, as well as smoking and alcohol consumption were determined. In the study population as a whole, the coronary score did not correlate with VAT, but only with smoking. However, both univariate and multivariate regression analysis showed that CAD significantly correlated with VAT in the non-diabetic patients, particularly in those with VAT of > 130 cm2. This correlation did not appear in the diabetic or IGT patients, nor when the group of patients with VAT > 130 cm2 was extended to include diabetic or IGT patients. No relationship was found between CAD and BMI or the other considered variables.


In a mixed population of CAD patients with or without diabetes, CAD correlates with VAT only in the absence of diabetes or IGT, and especially when VAT exceeds 130 cm2 at an L4 CT scan, regardless of weight or obesity. Diabetes or IGT therefore seem to contribute towards the development of CAD regardless of the amount of VAT.

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