The Natural history of Epicardial Adipose Tissue Volume and Attenuation: A long-term prospective cohort follow-up study

Nitesh Nerlekar, Udit Thakur, Andrew Lin, Ji Quan Samuel Koh, Elizabeth Potter, David Liu, Rahul G. Muthalaly, Hashrul N. Rashid, James D. Cameron, Damini Dey, Dennis T.L. Wong

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Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) is associated with cardiovascular risk. The longitudinal change in EAT volume (EATv) and density (EATd), and potential modulators of these parameters, has not been described. We prospectively recruited 90 patients with non-obstructive coronary atherosclerosis on baseline computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA) performed for suspected coronary artery disease to undergo a repeat research CTCA. EATv in millilitres (mL) and EATd in Hounsfield units (HU) were analysed and multivariable regression analysis controlling for traditional cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) performed to assess for any predictors of change. Secondary analysis was performed based on statin therapy. The median duration between CTCA was 4.3years. Mean EATv increased at follow-up (72 ± 33 mL to 89 ± 43 mL, p < 0.001) and mean EATd decreased (baseline −76 ± 6 HU vs. −86 ± 5 HU, p < 0.001). There were no associations between baseline variables of body mass index, age, sex, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes or smoking on change in EATv or EATd. No difference in baseline, follow-up or delta EATv or EATd was seen in patients with (60%) or without baseline statin therapy. In this select group of patients, EATv consistently increased and EATd consistently decreased at long-term follow-up and these changes were independent of CVRF, age and statin use. Together with the knowledge of strong associations between EAT and cardiac disease, these findings may suggest that EAT is an independent parameter rather than a surrogate for cardiovascular risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7109
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2020


  • angiogenesis
  • cardiology

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