Prognostic value of epicardial fat volume measurements by computed tomography: a systematic review of the literature
OBJECTIVES Pericardial adipose tissue (PAT) is associated with coronary artery plaque accumulation and the incidence of coronary heart disease. We evaluated the possible incremental prognostic value of PAT for future cardiovascular events. METHODS 145 patients (94 males, age 60 ± 10 years) with stable coronary artery disease underwent coronary artery calcification (CAC) scanning in a multislice CT scanner, and the volume of pericardial fat was measured. Mean observation time was 5.4 years. RESULTS 34 patients experienced a severe cardiac event. They had a significantly higher CAC score (1,708 ± 2,269 vs. 538 ± 1,150, p < 0.01), and the CAC score was highly correlated with the relative risk of a future cardiac event: 2.4 (1.8-3.7; p = 0.01) for scores >400, 3.5 (1.9-5.4; p = 0.007) for scores >800 and 5.9 (3.7-7.8; p = 0.005) for scores >1,600. When additionally a PAT volume >200 cm(3) was determined, there was a significant increase in the event rate and relative risk. We calculated a relative risk of 2.9 (1.9-4.2; p = 0.01) for scores >400, 4.0 (2.1-5.0; p = 0.006) for scores >800 and 7.1 (4.1-10.2; p = 0.005) for scores >1,600. CONCLUSIONS The additional determination of PAT increases the predictive power of CAC for future cardiovascular events. PAT might therefore be used as a further parameter for risk stratification.