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ISRN Obstet Gynecol. 2012;2012:389539. doi: 10.5402/2012/389539. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Epicardial fat tissue thickness in preeclamptic and normal pregnancies.

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Cardiology Department, Bagcılar Research and Education Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.



Epicardial fat tissue, another form of visceral adiposity, has been proposed as a new cardiometabolic risk factor, and the possible association of epicardial fat with hypertension has been shown in some recent studies. Although epicardial fat thickness (EFT) is associated with hypertension, the relationship between preeclampsia and EFT is still unknown. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between the echocardiographic EFT and the severity of preeclampsia in pregnant women.


Forty women with preeclampsia were recruited and thirty-five normal pregnant women were matched for both maternal age and gestastional age served as control. The materials were collected immediately after delivery of the fetus, before placenta expulsion and before clamping of the umblical cord in patients and controls whom were in fasting state. Total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), and triglyceride levels (TG) and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) levels were assessed. EFT was measured by using transthoracic echocardiography.


Among the preeclamptic women, 12 were diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and 28 mild preeclampsia. There were no statistically significant differences between patients with preeclampsia and normal pregnancy except when they are divided according to systolic and diastolic blood pressure, proteinuria levels, and parity and EFT levels. Among women with preeclampsia (n = 40), 30% had severe disease. Women with mild and severe preeclampsia had significiantly higher blood pressures at delivery and earlier gestational ages in comparison to control subjects. Although TG, VLDL and LDL, HDL, and HOMA-IR levels (P > 0.05) were comparable between preeclampsia and normal pregnancies, EFT levels were significiantly higher in patients with preeclampsia. Moreover, in subgroup analysis, patients with severe preeclampsia had higher EFT levels (P < 0.05) in comparison with mild preeclampsia.


EFT levels measured at delivery were increased in patients with preeclampsia, and patients with increased levels of EFT levels had a substantially higher probability of the disease severity in comparison to those with mild preeclampsia and controls.

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