Epicardial Fat Thickness in Non-Obese Neurologically Impaired Children: Association with Unfavorable Cardiometabolic Risk Profile

Valeria Calcaterra, Hellas Cena, Pietro Mariano Casali, Gianluca Iacobellis, Riccardo Albertini, Mara De Amici, Annalisa de Silvestri, Calogero Comparato, Gloria Pelizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cardiovascular risk is reported in disabled children and epicardial fat (EF) is considered an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD). No data on the EF thickness (EFT) evaluation in disabled children have been published. Objective: We investigated EFT in neurologically impaired (NI) children; its relationship with their metabolic profile was also considered. Methods: Clinical data, body composition estimation, biochemical profile, and ultrasound-measured EFT were performed in 32 disabled patients (12.4 ± 6.3 years). Pathological parameters were defined using the following criteria: waist circumference >95th percentile, waist to height ratio (WHtR) >0.5, total cholesterol and triglycerides (TG) values >95th percentile, high density lipoprotein cholesterol <5th percentile, fasting blood glucose >100 mg/dL, homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA) >97.5th percentile, and EFT >3.6 mm. Results: EFT values in NI children were higher compared with control group values (p = 0.02). EFT correlated with gender (p < 0.001), age (p = 0.02), pubertal stage (p = 0.04), as well as WHtR (p = 0.03). A correlation between EFT and leptin was also noted (p = 0.04). EFT levels significantly correlated with pathological TG (p = 0.01) and HOMA-IR (p = 0.04). Conclusions: Higher EFT was observed in NI children compared with controls. EFT values correlated with clinical, metabolic, and endocrinological parameters. Ultrasound-measured EFT could be used to promptly detect subclinical CVD and to prevent adverse outcomes in disabled children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-103
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 18 2018


  • Cardio-metabolic
  • Children
  • Disability
  • Epicardial fat
  • Non-obese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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