Sonographic Measurements of Subcutaneous Fat in Obese Individuals May Correlate Better with Peripheral Artery Disease Indices

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of various methods for body fat assessment with indices of peripheral artery disease in the deep and superficial femoral arteries.


The intima-media thickness (IMT), maximal IMT (max IMT), femoral wall thickness (FWT), maximal FWT (max FWT), cross-sectional intima media area (CIMA), and atherosclerotic burden score (ABS) were measured sonographically in 26 subjects. The minimum thickness of the abdominal subcutaneous fat layer (Smin) was measured sonographically close to the xyphoid process, and body fat percentage was calculated using various formulas.


Smin correlated significantly with body fat percentage calculated with all formulas and was the sole parameter that was associated significantly with all the femoral artery atherosclerotic indices IMT: r = 0.74, p < 0.001; max IMT: r = 0.53, p < 0.05; FWT: r = 0.78, p < 0.001; max FWT: r = 0.57, p < 0.005; ABS: r = 0.52, p < 0.05; CIMA: r = 0.86, p < 0.001; Smin was the major independent predictor of femoral IMT on a multiple stepwise regression analysis (β = 0.02; SE = 0.008, R2 = 0.35, p < 0.05).


Smin correlates better than indirect indices and formulas of body fat estimation with markers of extracoronary atherosclerosis. Sonographic measurement of Smin may serve in the future as a useful tool in everyday clinical practice.

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