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The association of epicardial fat volume with coronary characteristics and clinical outcome

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Recent studies have demonstrated the relationship between epicardial fat volume (EFV) and coronary atherosclerosis, but their association is modest at best. Our purpose is to elucidate the association of epicardial fat with coronary characteristics and clinical outcome. We performed coronary computed tomographic angiography in 651 patients and divided them into three groups according to tertiles of EFV; low-tertile (n = 215), 36–123 ml; middle-tertile (n = 218), 124–165 ml; high-tertile (n = 218), 166–489 ml. The prevalence of coronary calcium score (CCS) >0 (71.6, 73.4, and 83.9% in low-, middle-, and high-tertile group, respectively) and CCS >100 (39.1, 39.9, and 59.2% in each group) was significantly higher in patients with high-tertile EFV compared to the other two groups (p = 0.0047 and p < 0.0001, respectively). The prevalence of CCS >400 was 17.2, 25.7, and 33.1% in each group, which increased stepwise as EFV increased. The significant stenosis (36.2 vs. 27.0%, p = 0.0383), total coronary occlusion (5.5 vs. 0.9%, p = 0.0156), and high-risk plaque (11.0 vs. 5.6%, p = 0.0368) were more prevalent in patients with high-tertile EFV compared to those with low-tertile EFV. The combined rate of cardiac death and myocardial infarction was 0.9, 2.3, and 6.4% in each patient group, respectively, which was significantly higher in patients with high-tertile EFV compared to those with low-tertile EFV (p = 0.0004). The prevalence of coronary artery calcium, significant stenosis, and high-risk plaque increased sharply in patients with high EFV, which was associated with higher rate of cardiac death and myocardial infarction. Thus, high EFV was associated with advanced coronary atherosclerosis and poor prognosis.

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We wish to thank Mr. Takeshi Matsumoto, R.T. for his technical support of MDCT procedures.

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Correspondence to Kohichiro Iwasaki.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research involving with human and animal participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Iwasaki, K., Urabe, N., Kitagawa, A. et al. The association of epicardial fat volume with coronary characteristics and clinical outcome. Int J Cardiovasc Imaging 34, 301–309 (2018).

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