Abstract 3971: Pericardial Fat is more Strongly Associated with Calcified Coronary Plaque than Body Mass Index or Waist Circumference
Pericardial fat has a higher secretion of inflammatory cytokines than subcutaneous fat. It has been suggested that cytokines released from pericardial fat around coronary arteries act locally on the adjacent cells. Epidemiologic studies of the association between pericardial fat and coronary heart disease are still lacking.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that pericardial fat would be more strongly associated with coronary atherosclerosis than other adiposity measures.
Methods: Participants in the community-based Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis underwent a computed tomography scan for the assessment of calcified coronary plaque in 2001/02. We measured the volume of pericardial fat using these scans in 159 participants without symptomatic coronary heart disease from Forsyth County, NC, aged 55–74 years, randomly selecting 40 from each gender and ethnic (white and black) group.
Results: Compared to the participants without the presence of calcified coronary plaque, those with the presence of calcified coronary plaque (N=91) had a greater volume of pericardial fat (Mean (SD): 99.6 (51) vs 72.2 (34) cm3; p<0.0001). After adjusting for height, a one standard deviation increase in pericardial fat was associated with an increased odds of calcified coronary plaque (OR (95% CI): 1.92 (1.27, 2.90)). Substituting body mass index or waist circumference for height yielded similar results. With the further adjustment of other cardiovascular factors using a stepwise selection at the 0.05 significance level, pericardial fat (OR (95% CI): 2.10 (1.28, 3.45)), age and C-reactive protein remained in the model. The relationship between pericardial fat and calcified coronary plaque did not differ by gender and ethnicity (p for interaction terms > 0.1). On the other hand, body mass index and height-adjusted waist circumference were not associated with calcified coronary plaque.
Conclusions: In conclusion, pericardial fat is more strongly associated with calcified coronary plaque than body mass index or waist circumference.