Excess Pericardial Fat May Increase Risk for Heart Failure

High pericardial fat volume (PFV) is associated with an increased risk for heart failure, with higher risk in women than men, according to a study published in the issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Satish Kenchaiah, MD, MPH, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues examined the association between PFV and newly diagnosed heart failure among 6,785 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis who did not have preexisting cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found that 5.7 percent of participants developed newly diagnosed heart failure in 90,686 person-years. Women had lower PFV than men (69 ± 33 cm3 versus 92 ± 47 cm3). Every one-standard deviation increase in PFV was associated with a higher risk for heart failure in women than in men (hazard ratios, 1.44 versus 1.13) in multivariable analyses. High PFV (≥70 cm3 in women and ≥120 cm3 in men) conferred an increased risk for heart failure in women and men (hazard ratios, 2.06 and 1.53, respectively). After additional adjustment for anthropometric indicators of obesity, abdominal subcutaneous or visceral fat, or biomarkers of inflammation and hemodynamic stress, the greater risk for heart failure remained robust in sex-stratified analyses.

“This work provides us with an important tool to stratify patients into higher and lower risk of heart failure, which can possibly lead to early intervention and heart failure prevention to ultimately save people’s lives,” Kenchaiah said in a statement.

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