Fatty deposits impair heart function

 

The study by Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has found that measuring a person's body mass index (BMI or weight to height ratio) does not reliably predict the amount of undesired fat in and around these vital organs.

"Our study found that fat collection around the heart, the aorta and within the liver is clearly associated with decreased heart functions and that an MRI can quickly and non-invasively measure fat volume in these areas," said James Hamilton, professor of biophysics, physiology and biomedical engineering, who led the study at BUSM. The prevalence of obesity is rising rapidly in the US. Recent estimates suggest that nearly 30 per cent of the adult population meets this criterion.

Past studies have shown that fat accumulation in the liver and around the heart was linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. BUSM researchers compared fat volumes in obese people, all of whom had high blood pressure and/or diabetes. All subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and proton MR spectroscopy to quantify lipid volumes, cardiac function, etc., says a BUSM release. The researchers found fat collections within the liver and around the heart, to be linked with cardiovascular function - including a decrease in cardiac pumping function - as fat around the heart increased.  The study appeared online in Obesity.

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