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Chronic Obstr Pulm Dis. 2015;2(1):8-16.

Abdominal Visceral Adipose Tissue is Associated with Myocardial Infarction in Patients with COPD.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Surgical Planning Laboratory, Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado- Denver, Aurora, Colorado.
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Torrance, California.
Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora.



Cardiovascular diseases are frequent and a major cause of death in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the general population, various fat depots including abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and liver fat have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. We hypothesize that these adipose tissue compartments are associated with myocardial infarction (MI) in patients with COPD.


We collected measures of VAT and SAT areas and liver attenuation on the computed tomography scan of the chest from 1267 patients with COPD. MI was a self-reported physician-diagnosed outcome. The association between fat depots and self-reported history of MI was assessed by logistic regression analysis in which the patients within the 2 lowest tertiles of VAT and SAT areas were the reference group.


Eighty three patients (6.6%) reported a history of MI at the time of enrollment. Compared to patients who did not have an MI episode, those who had a prior MI had a higher VAT area (mean ± SD, 303.4 ± 208.5 vs. 226.8 ± 172.6 cm2; P=0.002) with no differences in SAT area and liver fat. After adjustment for age, gender, obesity, pack years of smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, patients within the upper tertile (vs. those in the lower tertiles) of VAT area had increased odds of MI (odds ratio [OR] 1.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02 - 3.41).


Increased abdominal visceral fat is independently associated with a history of MI in individuals with COPD.


COPD; CT; myocardial infarction; visceral adipose tissue

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