Cellular characteristics of fat quality have been associated with cardiometabolic risk and can be estimated by computed tomography (CT) attenuation.Objective:
The aim was to determine the association between CT attenuation (measured in Hounsfield units [HU]) and clinical outcomes.Methods:
This was a prospective community-based cohort study using data from the Framingham Heart Study (n = 3324, 48% women, mean age 51 years) and Cox proportional hazard models.Main Outcomes:
The primary outcomes of interest were incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. The secondary outcomes of interest were incident cancer, non-CVD death, and cancer death.Results:
There were 111 incident CVD events, 137 incident cancers, 85 deaths including 69 non-CVD deaths, and 45 cancer deaths in up to 23 047 person-years of follow-up. A 1-SD increment in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) HU was inversely associated with incident CVD in the age- and sex-adjusted model (hazard ratio [HR] 0.78, P = .02) but not after multivariable adjustment (HR 0.83, P = .11). VAT HU was directly associated with all-cause mortality (multivariable HR 1.40, P = .003), which maintained significance after additional adjustment for body mass index (HR 1.53, P < .001) and VAT volume (HR 1.99, P < .001). Non-CVD death remained significant in all 3 models, including after adjustment for VAT volume (HR 1.97, P < .001). VAT HU was also associated with cancer mortality (HR 1.93, P = .002). Similar results were obtained for sc adipose tissue HU.Conclusions:
Fat quality, as estimated by CT attenuation, is associated with all-cause mortality, non-CVD death, and cancer death. These associations highlight how indirect indices of fat quality can potentially add to a better understanding of obesity-related complications.