Impact of epicardial adipose tissue on cardiovascular haemodynamics, metabolic profile, and prognosis in heart failure

Nicola R. Pugliese, Francesco Paneni, Matteo Mazzola, Nicolò De Biase, Lavinia Del Punta, Luna Gargani, Alessandro Mengozzi, Agostino Virdis, Lorenzo Nesti, Stefano Taddei, Andreas Flammer, Barry A. Borlaug, Frank Ruschitzka, Stefano Masi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: We evaluated the impact of echocardiographic epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) on cardiovascular haemodynamics, metabolic profile and prognosis in heart failure (HF) using combined cardiopulmonary-echocardiography exercise stress. Methods and results: We analysed EAT thickness of HF patients with reduced (HFrEF, n = 205) and preserved (HFpEF, n = 188) ejection fraction, including 44 controls. HFpEF patients displayed the highest EAT, while HFrEF patients had lower values than controls. EAT showed an inverse correlation with natriuretic peptides, troponin T and C-reactive protein in HFrEF, while having a direct association with troponin T and C-reactive protein in HFpEF. EAT was independently associated with peak oxygen consumption (VO2) and peripheral extraction (AVO2diff), regardless of body mass index. EAT was inversely correlated with peak VO2 and AVO2diff in HFpEF, while a direct association was observed in HFrEF, where lower EAT values were associated with worse left ventricular systolic dysfunction. In HFpEF, increased EAT was related to right ventriculo–arterial (tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion/systolic pulmonary artery pressure) uncoupling. After 21 months of follow-up, 146 HF hospitalizations and 34 cardiovascular deaths were recorded in the HF population. Cox multivariable analysis supported an independent differential role of EAT in HF cohorts (interaction P = 0.01): higher risk of adverse events for increasing EAT in HFpEF [hazard ratio (HR) 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04–1.37] and for decreasing EAT in HFrEF (HR 0.75, 95% CI 0.54–0.91). Conclusion: In HFpEF, EAT accumulation is associated with worse haemodynamic and metabolic profile, also affecting survival. Conversely, lower EAT values imply higher left ventricular dysfunction, global functional impairment and adverse prognosis in HFrEF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1858-1871
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Heart Failure
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Exercise
  • Heart failure
  • Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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