Association of Periaortic Fat and Abdominal Visceral Fat with Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis in Chinese Middle Aged and Elderly Patients Undergoing Computed Tomography Coronary Angiography

Jingqi Zhu, Zhangwei Yang, Xiaolin Li, Xiaoli Chen, Jingjiang Pi, Tao Zhuang, Jie Liu, Gang Li, Sheng Peng, Lin Zhang, Qi Zhang, Paul Chan, Brian Tomlinson, Huimin Fan, Liang Zheng, Zhongmin Liu, Yuzhen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aims: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is usually caused by atherosclerosis, which is associated with general obesity and stronger associations with localized ectopic fat depots have been reported. We measured body ectopic fat distribution in Chinese patients to determine the association with coronary artery atherosclerosis (CA). Methods: Patients undergoing coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) who agreed to participate in the study (n = 750, 50.4% men, mean age 64.8 years) had cardiovascular disease and risk assessment. Body ectopic fat depots were measured from CT and their association with CA, determined from CCTA, was evaluated by univariate and multivariate logistic regression models. Results: CAD with CA (CAD-CA) was present in 57.2% of participants with CAD of moderate/severe CA (CAD-msCA) present in 23.5% and both were significantly more frequent in men than in women. Overall, men had greater body mass index (BMI) but there was no difference in waist circumference (WC) between genders. However, significantly higher visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and periaortic fat volume (PAFV) were observed in men, whereas women had significantly higher abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT). With increasing age, there was a significant decline in BMI, WC and SAT in men, but a significant increase of WC and VAT, PAFV and epicardial fat volume (EFV) in women. A high proportion of non-calcified plaques was observed in CAD-CA, 55.3% in CAD of minimal/mild CA (CAD-mmCA) with 38.7% exclusively non-calcified plaques, and 59.7% in CAD-msCA with multiple type plaques containing non-calcified ones. Multivariate logistic regression showed a significant association of PAFV with CAD-CA and CAD-msCA that was independent of general obesity and clinical risk factors, and independent of abdominal obe-sity in the highest PAFV quartile patients. VATA was associated with an increased prevalence of CAD-msCA in the patients in the upper 2 VATA quartiles that was independent of clinical risk factors and both general and abdominal obesity. Conclusions: We found age and gender differences of body ectopic fat distribution in Chinese patients with higher VAT and PAFV in men and higher SAT in women. With increased age, there was a decline of WC and SAT in men but not in women and an increase in WC, VAT and PAFV in women but not in men. PAFV was significantly associated with overall CAD-CA and CAD-msCA, while VAT was associated with CAD-msCA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA5
JournalGlobal Heart
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Body ectopic fat distribution
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Periaortic fat
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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