Epicardial adipose tissue reflects visceral adiposity and inflammation which can contribute to the fibrotic remodeling of the atrial myocardium. We aimed to investigate the relationship of echocardiographic epicardial fat thickness (EFT) and left atrial (LA) deformation parameter with diurnal blood pressure (BP) changes in patients with recently diagnosed essential hypertension.Design and method:
This cross-sectional study included 511 recently diagnosed hypertensive patients, who underwent echocardiography and 24-hours ambulatory BP monitoring. EFT was measured with echocardiography, and global LA strain was obtained by two-dimensional speckle imaging with automated software. The patients were classified as non-dippers if their daytime ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood pressure did not decrease by at least 10% during the night.Results:
The mean EFT, LA volume index as well as left ventricular (LV) filling pressure (E/Ea) were significantly higher in hypertensive patients, especially in non-dippers (all p < 0.001), whereas global LA strain was significantly lowest in non-dippers (normotensives; 23.2 ± 2.0% vs. dippers = 19.0 ± 3.3% vs. non-dippers = 17.4 ± 3.0%, P < 0.001). Moreover, LA strain was significantly associated with LV filling pressure (r = −0.422, p < 0.001), EFT (r = −0.187, p < 0.001), and 24 hour mean BP variability (r = −0.184, p < 0.001).Conclusions:
Non-dipper hypertensive patients were associated with increased EFT and impaired LA deformation. This indicates that these subjects may be more prone to atrial rhythm disturbances.