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The Role of Epicardial Fat in Pericardial Diseases


Purpose of Review

Despite the recent advancements in diagnostic modalities and therapeutic options available, the pathophysiology of pericardial syndromes remains poorly understood. In this review article, we explore the possible links between cardiac adiposity and pericardial syndromes.

Recent Findings

Over the last years, the notion of cardiac adipose tissue has radically changed, and its pivotal role in myocardial diseases has been acknowledged. Recent evidence suggests a cross-talk between epicardial fat and the heart. Imaging of epicardial and pericardial adipose tissue has an independent predictive/prognostic value in cardiovascular disease. Recent data suggests that imaging of epicardial adipose tissue may also provide prognostic information on the clinical course of patients with acute pericarditis.


Evidence from clinical and translational studies suggests possible links between epicardial fat and pericardial diseases, which need to be further explored. Epicardial adipose tissue could have a role both as a prognostic biomarker in pericardial syndromes and as potential therapeutic target for pericardial diseases. The findings of future research in the field are eagerly anticipated.

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Fig. 1



Epicardial adipose tissue


Pericardial adipose tissue


Computed tomography


Cardiac magnetic resonance


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs


Positron emission tomography


Atrial fibrillation


Acute myocardial infarction


Coronary artery disease


Cardiovascular disease


Heart failure


Major adverse coronary events


Ventricular tachycardia


Ventricular fibrillation


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Correspondence to George Lazaros.

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George Lazaros, Alexios Antonopoulos, Charalambos Antoniades, and Dimitris Tousoulis declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Pericardial Disease

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Lazaros, G., Antonopoulos, A., Antoniades, C. et al. The Role of Epicardial Fat in Pericardial Diseases. Curr Cardiol Rep 20, 40 (2018).

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