Weight change modulates epicardial fat burden: A 4-year serial study with non-contrast computed tomography

Ryo Nakazato, Ronak Rajani, Victor Y. Cheng, Haim Shmilovich, Rine Nakanishi, Yuka Otaki, Heidi Gransar, Piotr J. Slomka, Sean W. Hayes, Louise E.J. Thomson, John D. Friedman, Nathan D. Wong, Leslee J. Shaw, Matthew Budoff, Alan Rozanski, Daniel S. Berman, Damini Dey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Epicardial fat volume (EFV) is linked to cardiovascular event risk. We aimed to investigate the relationships between EFV and weight change. Methods: From the EISNER (Early Identification of Subclinical Atherosclerosis using Non-invasive Imaging Research) Registry with baseline and follow-up coronary calcium scans (1248 subjects), we selected a cohort of 374 asymptomatic subjects matched using age decade, gender and coronary calcium score (CCS) as a measure of subclinical cardiovascular risk, who underwent 2 scans at an interval of 4.1 ± 0.4 years. Using semi-automated validated software, pericardial contours were generated on all slices by spline interpolation from 5 to 10 control points. EFV was computed as fat volume within the pericardial contours. Weight gain/loss was defined as >5% change. Results: At baseline, EFV was moderately correlated to weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (r= 0.51, 0.41 and 0.50, p< 0.0001). EFV change was weakly correlated to change in weight (r= 0.37, p< 0.0001), BMI (r= 0.39, p< 0.0001) and waist circumference (r= 0.21, p= 0.002). On multivariable linear regression analysis, weight change [. β= 1.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.9-1.5, p< 0.001], BMI change (β= 1.2, 95% CI 0.9-1.5, p< 0.001), gender (β= -6.4, 95% CI -10.9 to -1.8, p= 0.006) and hypertension (β= 4.7, 95% CI 0.5-9.0, p= 0.03) predicted EFV change. EFV decreased in 54 subjects with weight loss and increased in 71 subjects with weight gain (-2.3 ± 21.1% vs. 23.3 ± 24.4%, p< 0.001). Conclusions: EFV is related to body weight, BMI and waist circumference. Reduction in weight may stabilize or reduce EFV, while weight gain may promote EFV increase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose tissue
  • Epicardial fat volume
  • Weight
  • Weight loss


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