Obesity, body fat and coronary atherosclerosis

Int J Cardiol. 2005 Feb 15;98(2):227-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2003.11.007.


Background: Recent prospective studies have provided compelling evidence that obesity is a risk factor for the occurrence of clinical coronary events. However, the link between angiographically determined coronary atherosclerosis and obesity still remains controversial. We conducted this cross-sectional study in a clinical setting to investigate the relation of the obesity and body fat (BF) with angiographically defined coronary atherosclerosis.

Patients and methods: Six hundred and seventy-three men (median age 64 years) and four hundred and twenty-eight women (median age 69 years) who underwent coronary angiography for suspected or known coronary heart disease were analyzed. The body mass index (BMI) and the BF were used as main exposure variables, and either the presence of significant (> or =50%) coronary diameter stenosis or a coronary artery disease severity score were defined as outcome variables, in a sex-specific logistic regression analysis.

Results: Among male patients, BF was slightly higher with increasing number of vessels involved (adjusted P for trend <0.05). In contrast, BMI showed no association with presence and severity of coronary artery disease (CAD). The odds ratios (ORs) for the presence of significant stenosis across quartiles of BMI were 1.0 (reference), 0.9, 1.1 and 0.7 (adjusted P for trend 0.61). This result did not differ between younger and older men. Among females, however, both BF and BMI were not significantly associated with an increasing number of vessels involved.

Conclusion: These results suggested that BF may be predictive of an increasing number of coronary vessels involved among male patients, but not among female patients. This study failed to detect a positive association of presence and severity of CAD with BMI.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors