The high levels of fat around the heart may point out the early stages of coronary disease, suggests a study. The fatty deposits around the heart lead to thickening of the artery wall on one side. The skew Body Mass Index (BMI) indicates the heart disease.
According to the journal Radiology, this study has been the first one to relate pericardial fat that is fixed in grooves on heart surface with the coronary artery plaque.
Director of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Care, David A. Bluemke stated that the pericardial fat placed behind the sternum, around the heart, but can be only located through CT or MRI.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) examined around 6,800 participants aged between 45 and 84, who had no heart problems in the beginning.
Bluemke said that the participants in the study had no symptoms and were healthy. However, they did not have significant coronary artery narrowing but their coronary plaque was detected by MRI. Around two-third of the population is obese and overweight and is at a greater risk of coronary artery disease and plaque, Bluemke said.
“It turns out there are specific areas around the heart where hidden fat seems to be promoting coronary disease, even in people without symptoms”, he added.