Abstract 1653: Prevalence and Distribution of High Pericardial and Intra-thoracic Fat Depots in the Framingham Heart Study
Objective: Pericardial and intra-thoracic fat depots may represent an important risk factor for obesity-related cardiovascular disease. We sought to determine the prevalence and distribution of high pericardial and intra-thoracic fat deposits in a community-based sample.
Methods: Participants from the Framingham Heart Study (n=3312; mean age 52 years, 48% women) underwent multidetector CT imaging in 2002–2005; the volumes of pericardial, intra-thoracic and visceral adipose tissue were quantified. High pericardial and high intra-thoracic fat was defined based on the sex-specific 90th percentile for these fat depots in a healthy reference sample. Age- and sex-adjusted analysis of variance was used to assess differences in mean measures of obesity and prevalence of metabolic risk factors across subgroups defined on the presence of high pericardial or intra-thoracic fat.
Results: For men and women, the prevalence of high pericardial fat was 29.3% and 26.3%, respectively, and high intra-thoracic fat was 31.4% and 35.3%, respectively. The prevalence of high pericardial and intra-thoracic fat increased with age and peaked in the 6th decade. Overall, 22.1% of the sample was discordant for pericardial and intra-thoracic fat depots: 8.3% had high pericardial but normal intra-thoracic fat, and 13.8% had high intra-thoracic but normal pericardial fat. Higher BMI, higher waist circumference and increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome tracked with higher intra-thoracic fat depots (see table⇓), likely due to increased abdominal visceral adipose tissue in participants with high intra-thoracic adipose tissue.
Conclusions: Nearly 30% of participants in our middle-aged community-based sample have high pericardial fat, and over 30% have increased intra-thoracic fat. Intra-thoracic fat is cross-sectionally related with abdominal visceral fat and the metabolic syndrome suggesting that it may represent a useful measure of metabolic risk on thoracic imaging.