Background Obesity is an important risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF). Epicardial adipose tissue in close anatomic proximity to cardiac structures and autonomic fibres, is a source of several inflammatory mediators related to the genesis of AF.
Objective This study is aimed to investigate the relationship of thickness of left atrial epicardial adipose tissue and atrial fibrillation.
Methods 150 consecutive hospitalised patients with AF from January 2008 to January 2009 underwent 16-slice spiral CT as the experimental group, 48 (32%) patients with persistent AF, 102 (68%) patients with paroxysmal AF). 131 cases of non-AF patients in our outpatient for 16-slice spiral spiral CT were set up as a control group. In a short-axis view of the mid-left atrium (LA), periatrial epicardial adipose tissue was measured at the oesophagus (LA-ESO), main pulmonary artery (LA-PA), and thoracic aorta (LA-TA). Axial plane measurement of the anteroposterior diameter and sagittal measurement of the vertical diameter were performed as the LA diameter.
Results Left atrial epicardial adipose tissue thickness in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation was significantly increased compared to that in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and without atrial fibrillation (all P value less than 0.05). Epicardial adipose tissue thickness in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation was significantly increased compared to patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (all P value less than 0.05). Adjusted for age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, BMI and left atrial size, left trial epicardial adipose tissue thickness had relationship with AF history duration and AF burden.
Conclusions Left atrial epicardial adipose tissue thickness was independently associated with AF duration and AF burden.