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TOMOGRAPHY, March 2017, Volume 3, Issue 1: 33-40
DOI: 10.18383/j.tom.2017.00103

Intrathoracic Fat Measurements Using Multidetector Computed Tomography (MDCT): Feasibility and Reproducibility

Jadranka Stojanovska, El-Sayed H. Ibrahim, Aamer R. Chughtai, Elizabeth A. Jackson, Barry H. Gross, Jon A. Jacobson, Alexander Tsodikov, Brian Daneshvar, Benjamin D. Long, Thomas L. Chenevert, and Ella A. Kazerooni

Department of Radiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Abstract

Intrathoracic fat volume, more specifically, epicardial fat volume, is an emerging imaging biomarker of adverse cardiovascular events. The purpose of this work is to show the feasibility and reproducibility of intrathoracic fat volume measurement applied to contrast-enhanced multidetector computed tomography images. A retrospective cohort study of 62 subjects free of cardiovascular disease (55% females, age = 49 ± 11 years) conducted from 2008 to 2011 formed the study group. Intrathoracic fat volume was defined as all fat voxels measuring -50 to -250 Hounsfield Unit within the intrathoracic cavity from the level of the pulmonary artery bifurcation to the heart apex. The intrathoracic fat was separated into epicardial and extrapericardial fat by tracing the pericardium. The measurements were obtained by 2 readers and compared for interrater reproducibility. The fat volume measurements for the study group were 141 ± 72 cm3 for intrathoracic fat, 58 ± 27 cm3 for epicardial fat, and 84 ± 50 cm3 for extrapericardial fat. There was no statistically significant difference in intrathoracic fat volume measurements between the 2 readers, with correlation coefficients of 0.88 (P = .55) for intrathoracic fat volume and -0.12 (P = .33) for epicardial fat volume. Voxel-based measurement of intrathoracic fat, including the separation into epicardial and extrapericardial fat, is feasible and highly reproducible from multidetector computed tomography scans.

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