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Int J Cardiol. 2012 Jun 28;158(1):26-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2010.12.085. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Epicardial adipose tissue is an independent predictor of coronary atherosclerotic burden.

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Cardiology Department, Centro Hospitalar de Gaia/Espinho, Portugal; Kings College London, United Kingdom.



Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) may play an active role in the development of coronary artery disease (CAD). The aim of this work was to study the relations between EAT, abdominal visceral fat (AVF), and coronary atherosclerotic burden as assessed by multislice computed tomography (MSCT).


Two hundred fifteen patients without known CAD referred to 64-SCT during a 6-months period were included. All patients underwent a standardized protocol including quantification of AVF, EAT, coronary artery calcification (CAC), and coronary angiography by MSCT.


Two hundred fifteen patients, with mean age of 58 ± 11 years, in which 61% were males, with mean body mass index (BMI) of 28 ± 4 kg/m(2) were included. EAT volume was directly associated with male sex, age, BMI, abdominal circumference, AVF, number of coronary segments with atherosclerotic plaques (p<0.01 for all), number of segments with significant stenoses, and presence of metabolic syndrome components (p<0.05). CAC increased by 14.7% per additional 10 ml of EAT volume. Adjusting for age, gender, and AVF changed this increase to 7.5%. After adjusting for all considered confounders, there was still an independent association, with a CAC increase of 3.7% per additional 10 ml of EAT. A significant interaction was found between EAT volume and gender and between EAT volume and obesity: an increase of EAT was associated with an increase of additional 8% of CAC in men, and additional increase of 5% in non-obese individuals (p<0.001 for both).


EAT volume positively relates to coronary atherosclerotic burden, as assessed by CAC; this correlation was shown to be independent of AVF.

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