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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Diabetes and Endocrinology - Otolaryngology - Radiology and Medical Imaging - Respiratory Medicine

Relationships between Body Fat Distribution, Epicardial Fat and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Obese Patients with and without Metabolic Syndrome
Published: Monday, October 08, 2012
Author: Carla Lubrano et al.

by Carla Lubrano, Maurizio Saponara, Giuseppe Barbaro, Palma Specchia, Eliana Addessi, Daniela Costantini, Marta Tenuta, Gabriella Di Lorenzo, Giuseppe Genovesi, Lorenzo M. Donini, Andrea Lenzi, Lucio Gnessi

Background

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and metabolic syndrome, both closely related to obesity, often coexist in affected individuals; however, body mass index is not an accurate indicator of body fat and thus is not a good predictor of OSA and other comorbidities. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the occurrence of OSA could be associated with an altered body fat distribution and a more evident cardio metabolic risk independently from obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Methods and Results

171 consecutive patients (58 men and 113 women) were included in the study and underwent overnight polysomnography. Anthropometric data, blood pressure, lipid profile, glycaemic parameters were recorded. Body composition by DXA, two-dimensional echocardiography and carotid intima/media thickness measurement were performed. 67 patients (39.2%) had no OSA and 104 (60.8%) had OSA. The percentage of patients with metabolic syndrome was significantly higher among OSA patients (65.4%) that were older, heavier and showed a bigger and fatter heart compared to the control group. Upper body fat deposition index , the ratio between upper body fat (head, arms and trunk fat in kilograms) and lower body fat (legs fat in kilograms), was significantly increased in the OSA patients and significantly related to epicardial fat thickness. In patients with metabolic syndrome, multivariate regression analyses showed that upper body fat deposition index and epicardial fat showed the best association with OSA.

Conclusion

The occurrence of OSA in obese people is more closely related to cardiac adiposity and to abnormal fat distribution rather than to the absolute amount of adipose tissue. In patients with metabolic syndrome the severity of OSA is associated with increase in left ventricular mass and carotid intima/media thickness.

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