Epicardial fat thickness significantly decreases after short-term growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy in adults with GH deficiency

E. Ferrante, A. E. Malavazos, C. Giavoli, F. Ermetici, C. Coman, S. Bergamaschi, E. Profka, S. Briganti, C. L. Ronchi, E. Passeri, S. Corbetta, A. G. Lania, A. Spada, G. Iacobellis, B. Ambrosi, P. Beck-Peccoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aim: Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) is characterized by increased visceral fat accumulation. Echocardiographic epicardial fat thickness is a new marker of visceral adiposity. Aim of the present study was to evaluate whether epicardial fat thickness can significantly change and therefore serve as a marker of visceral fat reduction after short-term rhGH replacement therapy in patients with adult-onset GHD. Methods and Results: Echocardiographic epicardial fat thickness was measured in 18 patients (10 M, 8 F, age 48 ± 11.8 yrs, BMI 29 ± 5.9 kg/m2) with adult-onset GHD, at baseline and after 6 and 12 months of rhGH therapy and in 18 healthy matched controls, at baseline. Echocardiographic epicardial fat thickness, conventional anthropometric and metabolic parameters, body fat percentage and quality of life were also evaluated. Epicardial fat thickness in adult GHD patients was higher than in controls (9.8 ± 2.8 vs 8 ± 3 mm, p <0.05). Epicardial fat thickness significantly decreased after 6-months of rhGH replacement therapy (from 9.8 ± 2.8 to 7.0 ± 2.3 mm, P <0.01, i.e. -29% from baseline). After 12 months of rhGH replacement therapy, epicardial fat thickness showed a further significant decrease (from 7.0 ± 2.3 to 5.9 ± 3.1 mm, P <0.01, i.e. -40% from baseline). No significant changes in BMI or waist circumference after 6 or 12 months of rhGH therapy were observed. Conclusions: Echocardiographic epicardial fat thickness may represent a valuable and easy marker of visceral fat and visceral fat changes during rhGH replacement treatment in patients with adult-onset growth hormone deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-465
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Epicardial fat
  • Epicardial fat thickness
  • GH deficiency
  • rhGH therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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