Epicardial fat volume is related to the degree of cardiac allograft vasculopathy

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Abstract

Objectives: Increasing evidence suggests a role for epicardial fat in the development of coronary artery disease in the general population. Heart transplantation patients are at increased risk of developing a specific form of coronary artery disease, cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV), which has far-reaching consequences in terms of morbidity and mortality. Until now, the role of epicardial fat volume (EFV) in the development of CAV remains unknown. Hence, we investigated the relationship between EFV and CAV as well as the influence of donor/recipient sex on EFV. Methods: Adult heart transplant patients who underwent coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) for CAV screening who were four or more years post-HT were included. Using the CT examinations, we quantified the EFV and the degree of CAV. Ordinal and linear regression models were used to assess the association of EFV with CAV. Results: In total, 149 (median age 44.5 years, 36% women) patients were included. The median time between HT and the CT scan was 11.0 (7.3–16.1) years. CAV grade 0, 1, 2 and 3 were seen in 85 (57%), 32 (22%), 14 (9%), and 18 (12%) patients, respectively. The median EFV was 208.4 (128.9–276.0) mL. Larger EFV were related to higher degrees of CAV (median of 164.7 to 290.6 mL for CAV grade 0 and 3, respectively, OR 5.23 (2.47–11.06), p < 0.001). Male recipients had significantly more EFV than female recipients irrespective of the donor sex (232.7 mL vs. 147.2 mL respectively, p < 0.001). Determinants for EFV were recipient sex, number of rejections, donor age, time between HT and CT scan, recipient BMI, and diabetes mellitus. Conclusions: EFV was associated with higher degrees of CAV. The recipient sex influenced the EFV more than the donor sex. Key Points: • Patients after heart transplantation have a high amount of epicardial fat while larger amounts of epicardial fat are related to higher grades of cardiac allograft vasculopathy. • Determinants of higher epicardial fat volume included recipient sex, number of rejections, donor age, time between HT and CT scan, recipient BMI, and diabetes mellitus. • Longitudinal studies are needed to further disentangle the role of epicardial fat in the development and progression of cardiac allograft vasculopathy. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-338
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Volume33
Issue number1
Early online date20 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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© 2022, The Author(s).

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