Sleep-disordered breathing and epicardial adipose tissue in patients with heart failure

V. Parisi, S. Paolillo, G. Rengo, R. Formisano, L. Petraglia, F. Grieco, C. D'Amore, S. Dellegrottaglie, C. Marciano, N. Ferrara, D. Leosco, P. P. Filardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is common in patients with heart failure (HF), contributes to the progression of cardiac disease, and is associated with adverse prognosis. Previous evidence indicates that epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) is independently associated with sleep apnea in obese individuals. We explored the relationship between SDB and EAT in HF patients. Methods and results: EAT thickness was assessed by echocardiography in 66 patients with systolic HF undergoing nocturnal cardiorespiratory monitoring. A significantly higher EAT thickness was found in patients with SDB than in those without SDB (10.7 ± 2.8 mm vs. 8.3 ± 1.8 mm; p = 0.001). Among SDB patients, higher EAT thickness was found in both those with prevalent obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and those with prevalent central sleep apnea (CSA). Of interest, EAT thickness was significantly higher in CSA than in OSA patients (11.9 ± 2.9 vs. 10.1 ± 2.5 p = 0.022). Circulating plasma norepinephrine levels were higher in CSA than in OSA patients (2.19 ± 1.25 vs. 1.22 ± 0.92 ng/ml, p = 0.019). According to the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), patients were then stratified in three groups of SDB severity: Group 1, mild SDB; Group 2, moderate SDB; Group 3, severe SDB. EAT thickness progressively and significantly increased from Group 1 to Group 3 (ANOVA p < 0.001). At univariate analysis, only left ventricular ejection fraction and AHI significantly correlated with EAT (p = 0.019 and p < 0.0001, respectively). At multivariate analysis, AHI was the only independent predictor of EAT (β = 0.552, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our results suggest an association between the presence and severity of sleep apneas and cardiac visceral adiposity in HF patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Early online dateOct 13 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 13 2017


  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Heart failure
  • Sleep-disordered breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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