Background: Visceral obesity and aortic calcification are both associated with cardiovascular events. The purpose of this study was to examine if visceral obesity was associated with the severity of abdominal aortic calcification.
Methods: One hundred and forty eight patients with peripheral artery disease were assessed by CT angiography. The severity of infrarenal abdominal aortic calcification was measured using a validated technique. The size of the visceral and subcutaneous compartments was estimated from anthropometric measurements made from the same CT. Calcification and anthropometric measurements were compared with Spearman's correlation and multiple logistic regression (adjusting for age, gender, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and cholesterol).
Results: The relative size of the visceral compartment estimated from CT diameter ratios was correlated with abdominal aortic calcification severity, r=0.27, p=0.001 and independently associated with calcification allowing for other cardiovascular risk factors (OR 6.63, 95% CI 1.90-23.14). The relative size of the visceral compartment was associated with serum osteoprotegerin levels, suggesting a possible mechanism underlying the detrimental influence of visceral adiposity.
Conclusion: The association of visceral adiposity and arterial calcification suggests one mechanism, which may contribute to the detrimental effects of central obesity.