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Growing evidence suggests a role of cardiovascular fat (epicardial + paracardial + aortic) in the pathogenesis of coronary heart disease. In order to study the relationship between deposits of cardiovascular fat and the menopause, El Khoudary and colleagues studied 456 women with an average age of 50 years from the SWAN heart cohort. Sex hormone levels were measured and cardiovascular fat volume was quantified by computerized tomographic scan. Late peri/postmenopausal women had greater volume of cardiovascular fat as compared with pre/early perimenopausal women independent of age and obesity. Lower estradiol concentrations were associated with greater cardiovascular fat volumes. The authors concluded that cardiovascular fat perhaps plays a role in the higher risk of coronary heart disease reported in women after the menopause [1].


  • Dr Juan Enrique Blümel
    Associate Professor, Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile, Chile


  1. El Khoudary SR, Shields KJ, Janssen I, et al. Cardiovascular fat, menopause and sex hormones in women: The SWAN Cardiovascular Fat Ancillary Study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2015;100:330412
  2. Abdulnour J, Doucet E, Brochu M, et al. The effect of the menopausal transition on body composition and cardiometabolic risk factors: a Montreal-Ottawa New Emerging Team group study. Menopause 2012;19:760-7
  3. Fasshauer M, Blüher M. Adipokines in health and disease. Trends Pharmacol Sci 2015;36:461-70
  4. Ding J, Kritchevsky SB, Harris TB, et al; Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The association of pericardial fat with calcified coronary plaque. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2008;16:1914-19
  5. Iacobellis G, Gao YJ, Sharma AM. Do cardiac and perivascular adipose tissue play a role in atherosclerosis?. Curr Diab Rep 2008;8:20-4
  6. Royer M, Castelo-Branco C, Blümel JE, et al; Collaborative Group for Research of the Climacteric in Latin America. The US National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III): Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal Latin American women. Climacteric 2007;10:164-70
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