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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The relation of location-specific epicardial adipose tissue thickness and obstructive coronary artery disease: systemic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

Fu-Zong Wu123, Kang-Ju Chou234, Yi-Luan Huang1 and Ming-Ting Wu13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiology, Section of Thoracic and Circulation Imaging, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

2 Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

3 Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine, National Yang Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

4 Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2014, 14:62  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-14-62

Published: 4 May 2014

Abstract

Background

There is growing evidence about the importance of epicardial adiposity on cardiometabolic risk. However, the relation of location-specific epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) thickness to coronary atherosclerotic burden is still unclear.

Methods

This meta-analysis was used to study the relations between location-specific EAT thickness and obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). A systemic literature search to identify eligible studies that met the inclusion criteria from the beginning until January 2014 was made. We conducted the meta-analysis of all included 10 published studies. Pre-specified subgroup analyses were performed according to ethnicity, body mass index, diagnostic tools for CAD, and measurement tool if presence of high heterogeneity between studies. Potential publication bias was also assessed.

Results

We identified ten observed studies with a total of 1625 subjects for planned comparison. With regard to the association between obstructive CAD and location-specific EAT thickness at the right ventricular free wall, caution is warranted. The pooled estimate showed that location-specific EAT thickness at the right ventricular free wall was significantly higher in the CAD group than non-CAD group (standardized mean difference (SMD): 0.70 mm, 95% CI: 0.26-1.13, P = 0.002), although heterogeneity was high (I2 = 93%). It should be clear that only the result of echocardiography-based studies showed a significant association (SMD: 0.98 mm, 95% CI: 0.43-1.53, P = 0.0005), and the result of all included CT-based studies showed a non-significant association (SMD: 0.06 mm, 95% CI: -0.12-0.25, P = 0.50). In the subgroup analysis, the “diagnostic tools for CAD” or “measurement tool of EAT thickness” are potential major sources of heterogeneity between studies. With regard to location-specific EAT thickness at the left atrioventricular (AV) groove, it was significantly higher in the CAD group than non-CAD group (SMD: 0.74 mm, 95% CI: 0.55-0.92, P <0.00001; I2 = 0%).

Conclusion

Our meta-analysis suggests that significantly elevated location-specific EAT thickness at the left AV groove is associated with obstructive CAD. Based on the current evidence, the location-specific EAT thickness at the left AV groove appears to be a good predictor in obstructive CAD, especially in Asian populations. Furthermore well-designed studies are warranted because of the current limited number of studies.

Keywords:
Coronary artery disease; Location-specific epicardial adipose tissue thickness; Meta-analysis