Preeclampsia is a disease which is characterized by abnormal placentation with subsequent maternal inflammatory and vascular response. Inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, angiogenesis and oxidative stress are main pathophysiologic mechanisms for developing of preeclampsia. Epicardial fat thickness (EFT), which is a kind of visceral fat located around the heart, is significantly related with increased left ventricular mass, diastolic dysfunction and atrial enlargement. Local and systemic inflammation, insulin resistance and beta-adrenergic activity were reported as important effects of EFT on cardiovascular system in recent studies.Objective:
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between EFT and presence and severity of preeclampsia.Design and Method:
One hundred pregnant subjects with the diagnosis of preeclampsia were enrolled as a preeclamptic group. It was also divided into 2 groups according to severity of disease as follows: severe and mild groups. Control group composed of 40 subjects, who had no history of cardiovascular disease, and an uncomplicated pregnancy, admitted to the obstetrics and gynecology outpatient clinic for routine prenatal screenings. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were measured and protein level was assessed in a 24 hours urine specimen or by dipstick on admission. EFT was also measured by 2-D transthoracic echocardiography examination.Results:
EFT was significantly higher in the preeclampsia group than in the healthy pregnants (6.8 ± 0.7 vs. 5.9 ± 0.7 mm; p < 0.001). It was found to be significantly increased in the severe preeclamptic pregnants as compared to the mild group (7.0 ± 0.8 vs. 6.6 ± 0.6 mm; p = 0.002). Moreover, EFT was significantly positively correlated with systolic and diastolic blood pressures (r = 0.496, p < 0.001 and r = 0.508, p < 0.001 respectively) and proteinuria (r = 0.305, p = 0.002), which are well known important predictors for severity of preeclampsia.Conclusions:
EFT is a cheap, practical and reliable echocardiographic marker that may be beneficial for predicting of presence and severity of preeclampsia.