, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 853-860
Date: 13 May 2010

Echocardiographic Measurement of Epicardial Adipose Tissue in Obese Children

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The echocardiographic measurement of epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) has been suggested as an easy method for evaluation of the visceral adipose tissue and its related cardiovascular risks in adults. However, a direct effect of obesity on cardiac function is not well established, and echocardiographic EAT thickness has not been studied in children. The aims of this study were to evaluate cardiac function and echocardiographic EAT thickness and to correlate EAT with the other echocardiographic findings in obese children. The study population included 106 obese and 62 lean children. Echocardiographic indexes of systolic and diastolic function were obtained. We measured EAT thickness on the free wall of the right ventricle from parasternal long-axis views. The septal and posterior wall thicknesses, relative wall thickness, left atrial diameter, and left ventricular mass were increased (p = 0.001) in obese children. However, systolic and diastolic functions of the left ventricle were normal in the patients. The obese children had a significantly thicker EAT (p = 0.001) compared to the lean subjects. EAT thickness correlated significantly with body mass index (r = 0.50, p = 0.001), left atrial diameter (r = 0.37, p = 0.001), and left ventricular mass (r = 0.33, p = 0.001). In conclusion, the present study demonstrates a close relationship between EAT thickness and obesity in children. Assessment of EAT thickness in routine echocardiographic examinations might be used as a feasible and reliable method for the evaluation of obesity and its related cardiovascular risks during childhood.