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Respirology. 2014 Jan;19(1):92-7. doi: 10.1111/resp.12164.

Mesenteric fat thickness is associated with increased risk of obstructive sleep apnoea.

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Department of Imaging and Interventional Radiology, The Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.



Mesenteric fat is a type of intraperitoneal adipose tissue draining into portal circulation. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between mesenteric fat thickness and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in patients with suspected OSA.


One hundred forty-nine subjects (men: 114; women: 35) with suspected OSA underwent ultrasound examinations of mesenteric, preperitoneal and subcutaneous fat thickness after overnight polysomnography. Body mass index (BMI) and neck circumference were recorded.


The subjects with OSA (n = 130, apnoea/hypopnoea index (AHI) >5/h) had greater neck circumference, higher BMI, and greater mesenteric and preperitoneal fat thickness than those without OSA (n = 19, AHI ≤ 5/h). There was positive correlation of AHI with mesenteric (r = 0.43, P < 0.001) and preperitoneal fat thickness (r = 0.3, P < 0.001), whereas no significant association was observed between AHI and subcutaneous fat thickness (r = 0.09, P = 0.27). On multivariate logistic regression, after adjustments for gender, age, BMI, neck circumference, and preperitoneal and subcutaneous fat thickness, the mesenteric fat thickness had a positive association with the presence of moderate OSA and severe OSA, with odds ratios of 7.18 and 7.45 for every 1 cm increase in mesenteric fat thickness when AHI was defined as ≥15/h and AHI ≥ 30/h, respectively.


Mesenteric fat thickness is associated with increased risk of OSA, independent of other abdominal fat thickness, BMI and neck circumference. Sonographic measurement is potentially a useful tool for further evaluating the complex association of visceral fat, metabolic syndrome and OSA.


mesenteric fat; obstructive sleep apnoea; preperitoneal fat; subcutaneous fat; ultrasound

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