Adipose tissue surrounding coronary arteries may contribute to the development of
coronary atherosclerosis given its localisation and potential for local production
of inflammatory cytokines. We compared various measurements for quantifying epicardial
adipose tissue (EAT) and peri-coronary fat using cardiac CT. Additionally, we estimated
their relationship with obesity and metabolic syndrome in patients suspected of coronary
artery disease (CAD).
EAT and peri-coronary fat measurements were performed on cardiac multi-slice CT scans
in 60 patients (aged 50-70 years) referred for coronary angiography. EAT was measured
as thickness on the right ventricular free wall, as area at the base of the ventricles,
and as volume. Peri-coronary fat was assessed as thickness and cross-sectional area
surrounding the three main coronary arteries. Linear regression analysis was used
to assess the relation of EAT and peri-coronary fat with obesity and metabolic syndrome
Volumetric EAT measurements showed good reproducibility with low coefficients of variation
(CVs) varying between 3.0% and 5.0%. Measurements of EAT and peri-coronary fat thickness
and area were moderately reproducible (CVs 11.0-23.4%). The amount of EAT and peri-coronary
fat (per standard deviation) was related with obesity (BMI > or =30 kg/m(2)) (beta
1.24; 95% CI 0.66; 1.81) and metabolic syndrome (beta 0.81; 95% CI 0.28; 1.33).
Volumetric quantification of EAT using cardiac CT is highly reproducible compared
to more simple measurements as EAT and peri-coronary fat thickness and area. The quantity
of EAT and peri-coronary fat is related with the presence of obesity and metabolic
syndrome in patients suspected of CAD.