Abstract 5154: Increased Pericardial Fat Is Associated With Carotid Artery Stiffness: The Multi-ethnic Study Of Atherosclerosis (MESA)
Introduction - Arterial stiffness is a major contributor to aging-related cardiovascular diseases. Pericardial fat (Pfat) may have a pathological effect due to its close proximity to the coronary arteries. However, no studies have examined whether Pfat is related to arterial stiffness.
Purpose - We examined the association between baseline measures of Pfat and carotid stiffness in 5768 participants (mean age, 62 yrs; 53% female; 39% Caucasian, 13% Chinese, 25% African American, and 23% Hispanic) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a prospective cohort study of 45– 84 yr-old men and women free of cardiovascular disease at baseline.
Methods - Pfat volume was assessed by computed tomography. Ultrasonography of the common carotid artery was used to calculate the distensibility coefficient (DC, a measure of compliance) and Young’s modulus (YM, a measure of stiffness). A lower DC and a higher YM are indicative of stiffer arteries. Multiple linear regression was used to determine the relationship between Pfat and carotid stiffness indices.
Results - The average (mean±SD) Pfat volume was 79.5±42.0 cm3, YM was 1301.9±630.9, and DC was 2.5±1.1×10−3 mmHg−1. There was a significant interaction between Pfat and both gender and obesity (i.e. non-obese vs. obese) for both stiffness indices. When stratified by gender, the interaction between Pfat and obesity was significant only in women. In men, a 1 SD unit increase in Pfat was associated with both YM (β=21.9±11.4, p=0.05) and DC (β=-0.068±0.018×10−3 mmHg−1, p=0.0002). In non-obese women, Pfat was associated with YM (β=72.2±25.2, p=0.004), but not DC. These associations were independent of demographics, lifestyle factors, medication use, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular risk factors. Further adjustment for BMI or waist circumference strengthened the associations with YM, but slightly attenuated the association with DC, although it remained significant. There was no association between Pfat and carotid stiffness in obese women.
Conclusions - Pfat is associated with carotid stiffness in men and non-obese women, independent of BMI and waist circumference. These findings suggest that increased Pfat is related to arterial stiffness, independent of established cardiovascular risk factors.