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Fat around heart may be early indicator of coronary disease
Date:8/15/2011

said.

The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure coronary artery eccentricity (ratio of maximal to minimal artery wall thickness) as a measure of early-stage atherosclerosis and computed tomography (CT) to determine pericardial fat volume.

"Pericardial fat is located behind the sternum, around the heart, and we cannot see it except with CT or MRI," Dr. Bluemke said. "In some people, extra fat forms preferentially in this area. We do not know why. However, extra fat around the heart is generally associated with being overweight or obese."

The results showed that pericardial fat volume correlated significantly with the degree of plaque eccentricity in both men and women. After adjustment for BMI, waist circumference, traditional risk factors, C-reactive protein level and coronary calcium content, the relationship between pericardial fat and plaque eccentricity remained significant in men, but not in women.

"The findings indicate yet another reason that obesity is bad for us," Dr. Bluemke said. "It is particularly bad when the fat forms around the heart, since the heart fat appears to further promote coronary artery plaque."


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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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