The Assessment of Epicardial Adipose Tissue in Acute Coronary Syndrome Patients. A Systematic Review

DOI: 10.1515/jce-2017-0003


Background: This systematic review seeks to evaluate the role of epicardial adipose tissue (EAT), quantified either by thickness, assessed by transthoracic echocardiography, or by vol- ume, assessed by cardiac computed tomography (CT), in the follow-up of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Method: One-hundred forty-four articles were screened, from which 56 were reviewed in full-text. From those, 47 studies were excluded for the following reasons: they did not meet the inclusion criteria; they were either reviews or meta-analyses; the study cohorts included only stable coronary artery disease patients; they did not state a clear and concise study design, endpoints, or follow-up. The final draft included nine studies for systematic evaluation. Results: Of the 2,306 patients included in the review, 170 underwent cardiac CT while the remaining 2,136 underwent transthoracic echocardiography for the mea- surement of EAT. The analysis found that the EAT thickness was significantly associated with major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) rates during hospitalization (OR: –1.3, 95% CI: 1.05–1.62, p = 0.020) and at three years (HR: 1.524, 95% CI: 1.0–2.2, p = 0.038). The included studies found that EAT was correlated with the following clinical and angiographic risk scores for ACS: GRACE (r = 0.438, p <0.001), TIMI risk score (r = 0.363, p = 0.001), SYNTAX score (r = 0.690, p <0.0001; r = 0.610, p <0.01), and Gensini score (r = 0.438, p = 0.001). There was an inverse correlation between ST-segment resolution of <70% after revascularization and EAT (r = −0.414, p = 0.01), and the myocardial blush grade (r = −0.549, p <0.001). The EF aggregation ranged between 2.65 mm and 4.7 mm within the included studies. Conclusions: EAT, evalu- ated either by echocardiography or cardiac CT, correlates with the severity of coronary lesions, with the clinical and angiographic risk scores for acute coronary syndromes, with indicators for coronary reperfusion, and with short- and long-term MACE rates. Further studies are required to fully elucidate the role of this extensively studied but still novel cardiovascular biomarker as part of a risk prediction tool.