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J Atr Fibrillation. 2013 Feb 12;5(5):790. doi: 10.4022/jafib.790. eCollection 2013 Feb-Mar.

The Role of Pericardial and Epicardial Fat in Atrial Fibrillation Pathophysiology and Ablation Outcomes.

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Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders (CHRD), University of Adelaide and the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia.


Emerging evidence suggests that epicardial and pericardial fat are related to the presence, severity and outcome of AF. These associations, independent of generalized obesity, suggest that they may become increasingly useful as markers for risk stratification or monitoring in the clinical setting. Mechanistically, studies have suggested the effects of epicardial and pericardial fat may be mediated by local adipokines, inflammation, fatty infiltration, modulation of AF drivers and left atrial dilatation. Given the dual epidemics of AF and obesity, in the present paper we review the role that the ectopic adipose tissue surrounding the heart has in the pathogenesis of AF. Further inquiries in this active area of investigation may ultimately lead to new insights in how to best combat these interrelated epidemics and reduce the societal burden of AF.

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