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J Am Coll Cardiol

Clinical Articles, Featured

PERICARDIAL FAT INDEPENDENT MARKER FOR AF

Pericardial fat is associated with the presence of atrial fibrillation (AF), its severity, and poorer outcomes after ablation, independently of more systemic measures of adiposity, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology1.

110 patients undergoing first-time AF ablation and 20 reference patients without AF underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging for the quantification of periatrial, periventricular, and total pericardial fat volumes.  Together with body mass index and body surface area, these were examined in relation to the presence of AF, the severity of AF, left atrial volume, and long-term AF recurrence after ablation by researchers overseen by Professor Prashanthan Sanders, University of Adelaide, Australia.

periatrial-fat-internal

Reproduced courtesy of J Am Coll Cardiol

The study found a strong association between pericardial fat volumes and the presence, symptom burden (evaluated using the University of Toronto Atrial Fibrillation Severity Scale2) and chronicity of AF (all p values <0.05).  Their results also showed links between pericardial fat deposits and left atrial volume (p < 0.001).  These associations persisted after multivariate adjustment and additional adjustment for body weight.

The authors claim that although studies with larger samples have previously reported associations between systemic adiposity and AF, their finding that pericardial fat but not systemic adiposity was significantly associated with AF suggests that pericardial fat depots may be a more influential measure than either body mass index or body surface area. Their results support the hypothesis of a local pathogenic effect of pericardial fat on the arrhythmogenic substrate supporting AF.

References

1 Wong CX, Abed HS, Molaee P, et al. Pericardial Fat Is Associated With Atrial Fibrillation Severity and Ablation Outcome. J Am Coll Cardiol 2011;57:1745–51.

2 Dorian P, Jung W, Newman D, et al. The impairment of health related quality of life in patients with intermittent atrial fibrillation: implications for the assessment of investigational therapy. J Am Coll Cardiol 2000;36:1303–9.

Published on: May 6, 2011

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association
 

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