Reumatol Clin (Engl Ed). 2023 Aug-Sep;19(7):363-373. doi: 10.1016/j.reumae.2022.10.003.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Systemic inflammatory diseases could act as an unfavorable condition in which epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) becomes harmful to cardiovascular health. The objectives were: (a) to quantitatively compare the presence of EAT between patients with systemic inflammatory diseases and controls; (b) to analyze the association between EAT and subclinical atheromatosis in individuals with systemic inflammatory diseases.
METHODS: Studies that have quantified EAT in a population with systemic inflammatory diseases compared to a control group, or that describe the association between EAT and the presence of subclinical atheromatosis in patients with systemic inflammatory diseases were included. A quantitative analysis was performed for the first objective. This systematic review was performed according to PRISMA guidelines.
RESULTS: Twenty-one studies including 1448 patients with systemic inflammatory diseases, were considered eligible for this study. Patients with systemic inflammatory disease have a higher volume (MD: 10.4cm3 [1.8-19.1]; p<0.01), higher thickness (MD: 1.0mm [0.8-1.2]; p<0.01), and a statistically non-significant higher area (MD: 3.1cm2 [1.0-5.2]; p=0.46) of EAT compared to the control group. Most studies reported a significant association between EAT and subclinical atheromatosis in patients with different systemic inflammatory diseases.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that EAT is increased in patients with systemic inflammatory diseases compared with healthy controls, and that EAT measurement is closely correlated with subclinical atherosclerosis in these patients. The causality of this association should be tested in prospective studies.