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Correlation of pericardial and mediastinal fat with coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome, and cardiac risk factors


Obesity and abdominal fat have been shown to correlate with coronary artery disease (CAD) and may play a role in development of metabolic syndrome (MS). The significance of pericardial adipose tissue (PAT) and mediastinal adipose tissue (MAT) is less clearly defined.


To study the association between PAT and MAT measured by cardiac magnetic resonance with: 1) severity of CAD, 2) MS and 3) cardiac risk factors (CRF) for CAD.


We enrolled 100 consecutive patients, 63 male, who underwent CMR for cardiac evaluation and had coronary angiogram performed within 12 months. The baseline characteristics of these patients were as follows: Eighty had hypertension (HTN), 42 had diabetes mellitus (DM), 37 had hyperlipidemia and 4 were smoker. We measured PAT and MAT on 4-chamber cine view. The surface area of fat was measured by computer analysis from free-hand region of interest (ROI) curves. The presence and the extent of CAD were measured using Duke Jeopardy Score. MS was considered positive if the patient had 3 or more of the 5 criteria. The CRF included HTN, DM, hyperlipidemia, smoking, peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and a family history of premature CAD (FH).


PAT had significant correlation with MS and HTN, but not with CAD. MAT did not have a significant correlation with either CAD or MS, but did correlate with DM, hyperlipidemia, smoking and FH. The combination of PAT and MAT correlated with MS and all the risk factors, except PVD, but did not correlate with CAD. (Data in Table 1.)

Table 1


The combination of MAT and PAT correlates with MS and a number of CRFs but does not correlate with CAD.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Chenn, O., Ahmad, I., Hua, B. et al. Correlation of pericardial and mediastinal fat with coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome, and cardiac risk factors. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 11 (Suppl 1), O16 (2009).

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