Abstract 3852: Epicardial Adipose Tissue is associated with Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Coronary Artery Calcification: A Population Based Study
Background: Epicardial Adipose Tissue (EAT) is a layer of visceral fat between the myocardium and the pericardium. It is a rich source of bioactive molecules directly surrounding the coronary arteries. EAT has the same origin as abdominal visceral fat, which is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to determine whether pericoronary EAT is associated to cardiovascular risk factors and coronary atherosclerosis.
Methods: We performed cardiac CT scans for coronary calcium scoring (Agatston Score) in 573 healthy postmenopausal women. We also measured various risk factors for cardiovascular disease. EAT was determined on the CT scans in the areas of right (RCA), left anterior descending (LAD) and circumflex coronary artery (LCX). At each of these sites maximal EAT thickness on transverse sections was measured as the largest distance from heart surface to pericardium.
Results: Women were between 57 and 81 years of age (average 66.8 ± 5.5). Spearman correlation for inter-observer variability of EAT measurements was 0.73 (p < 0.001). Average EAT thickness was 16.4 mm (range 5.9, 36.6) for the RCA, 7.2 mm (range 2.0, 26.8) for the LAD and 10.8 mm (range 2.8, 29.1) for the LCX. Average thickness over all three territories was 11.5mm (range 5.4, 23.3). EAT was positively related to age (p = 0.009). In age-adjusted linear regression models EAT thickness was positively related to weight (p < 0.0001), waist circumference (p < 0.0001), waist to hip ratio (p < 0.001), body mass index (p < 0.0001), glucose (p < 0.0001), triglycerides (p < 0.0001), use of anti hypertensive drugs (p = 0.004), current smoking (p = 0.034) , diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.046), systolic blood pressure (p = 0.068) and inversely related to HDL cholesterol (p < 0.004). Furthermore, EAT showed a graded relation with coronary calcification (p = 0.036).
Conclusion: Epicardial adipose tissue shows a strong relation with cardiovascular risk factors and coronary calcification. Our findings support the hypothesis that epicardial adipose tissue reflects metabolically active fat.