Determinants of intrathoracic adipose tissue volume and associations with cardiovascular disease risk factors in Amish

X. Liu, W. S. Post, J. McLenithan, M. Terrin, L. Magder, I. Zeb, M. Budoff, B. D. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and aim: Hypothesizing that intrathoracic fat might exert local effects on the coronary vasculature, we assessed the association of intrathoracic fat volume and its two subcomponents with coronary artery calcification (CAC) in 909 relatively healthy Amish adults. Methods and results: Intrathoracic fat, which is comprised of fat between the surface of the heart and the visceral epicardium (epicardial fat) and fat around the heart but outside of the fibrous pericardium (pericardial fat), was measured from electron beam CT scans. We examined the association between intrathoracic fat volume and cardiovascular disease risk factors in multivariate regression model. Fat volume in the epicardial and pericardial compartments were highly correlated with each other and with body mass index. Neither CAC extent nor CAC presence (Agatston score > 0) was associated with increased intrathoracic fat volume in sex-stratified models adjusting for age (p > 0.10). Intrathoracic fat volume was significantly correlated with higher systolic/diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, fasting glucose, insulin, triglyceride and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in sex-stratified models adjusting for age (p < 0.05). However, associations were attenuated after further adjustment for body mass index. Conclusions: These data do not provide support for a significant role for intrathoracic fat in the development of CAC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-293
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Coronary artery calcification
  • Ectopic fat
  • Epicardial fat
  • Intrathoracic fat
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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