Article ID: 36467
Aim: Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) has been suggested as a contributing factor for coronary atherosclerosis based on the previous cross-sectional studies and pathophysiologic background. However, a causal relationship between EAT and the development of non-calcified coronary plaque (NCP) has not been investigated.
Methods: A total of 122 asymptomatic individuals (age, 56.0±7.6 years; male, 80.3%) without prior history of coronary artery disease (CAD) or metabolic syndrome and without NCP or obstructive CAD at baseline cardiac computed tomography (CT) were enrolled. Repeat cardiac CT was performed with an interval of more than 5 years. Epicardial fat volume index (EFVi; cm3/m2) was assessed in relation to the development of NCP on the follow-up CT where the results were classified into “calcified plaque (CP),” “no plaque,” and “NCP” groups.
Results: On the follow-up CT performed with a median interval of 65.4 months, we observed newly developed NCP in 24 (19.7%) participants. Baseline EFVi was significantly higher in the NCP group (79.9±30.3 cm3/m2) than in the CP group (63.7±22.7 cm3/m2; P=0.019) and in the no plaque group (62.5±24.7 cm3/m2; P=0.021). Multivariable logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the presence of diabetes (OR, 9.081; 95% CI, 1.682–49.034; P=0.010) and the 3rd tertile of EFVi (OR, 4.297; 95% CI, 1.040–17.757; P=0.044 compared to the 1st tertile) were the significant predictors for the development of NCP on follow-up CT.
Conclusions: Greater amount of EAT at baseline CT independently predicts the development of NCP in asymptomatic individuals.