Association of disproportionate liver fat with markers of heart failure: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Am Heart J. 2024 May 21:275:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2024.05.010. Online ahead of print.


Background: Metabolic dysfunction associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) has been linked to heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). We sought to understand association between individuals with amounts of liver adiposity greater than would be predicted by their body mass index (BMI) in order to understand whether this disproportionate liver fat (DLF) represents a proxy of metabolic risk shared between liver and heart disease.

Methods: We studied 2,932 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) who received computed tomography (CT) measurements of hepatic attenuation. Quartiles of DLF were compared and multivariable linear regression was performed to evaluate the association of DLF with clinical, echocardiographic, and quality of life metrics.

Results: Compared to the lowest quartile of DLF, individuals in the highest quartile of DLF were more likely to be male (52.0% vs 47.1%, P < .001), less likely to be Black or African American (14.8 % vs 38.1% P < .001), have higher rates of dysglycemia (31.9% vs 16.6%, P < .001) and triglycerides (140 [98.0, 199.0] vs 99.0 [72.0, 144.0] mg/dL, P > .001). These individuals had lower global longitudinal strain (-0.13 [-0.25, -0.02], P = .02), stroke volumes (-1.05 [-1.76, -0.33], P < .01), lateral e' velocity (-0.10 [-0.18, -0.02], P = .02), and 6-minute walk distances (-4.25 [-7.62 to -0.88], P = .01).

Conclusion: DLF is associated with abnormal metabolic profiles and ventricular functional changes known to be associated with HFpEF and may serve as an early metric to assess for those that may progress to clinical HFpEF.