Background Microvasculopathy and endothelial wall damage are prominent features of Systemic sclerosis (SSc) and can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) is localized beneath the visceral pericardium and shown to have close relationship with coronary artery disease (CAD).
Objectives The goal of this study was to investigate the thickness of EAT in SSc patients, as a indirect manifestation of coronary artery disease.
Methods Thirty SSc patients and 30 healthy controls (HC) were included to the study. Baseline characteristics of the patients, including age, gender, smoking status, diabetes or hypertension history, disease duration since the onset of the first non-Raynaud's symptoms and disease subset, were recorded. Measurement of EAT was evaluated using Echocardiography and Doppler imaging.
Results Both SSc patients and HC were similar in terms of having diabetes mellitus or hypertension and smoking history. EAT thickness was significantly higher in SSc group compared to HC (6.2±0.9 mm vs. 5.7±0.6 mm, p=0.01). SSc patients with digital ulcer had higher EAT thickness than without, but the difference did not reach statistical significance (0.66±0.07 vs. 0.60±0.09, respectively, p=0.07). EAT thickness was correlated with both disease activity score (r=0.52, p=0.003), and disease severity score (r=0.45, p=0.01).
Conclusions This is the first study indicating significantly higher EAT-thickness and showing the relationship with disease activity, in SSc patients. We believe that further studies are needed to clarify the role of adipose tissue in patients with SSc.
Disclosure of Interest None declared