Comparison of reducing epicardial fat by exercise, diet or bariatric surgery weight loss strategies: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
The objectives were to determine whether epicardial fat (EAT) is subject to modification, and whether various strategies accomplish this end point and the relationship between weight loss and EAT. A systematic review of the literature following meta-analysis guidelines was conducted using the search strategy 'epicardial fat' OR 'epicardial adipose tissue' AND 'diet' OR 'exercise' OR 'bariatric surgery (BS)' OR 'change in body weight' limited to humans. Eleven articles were identified with 12 intervention approaches of which eight studies showed a statistically significant reduction in EAT. A random-effects meta-analysis suggests an overall significant reduction of 1.12 standardized units (95% CI = [-1.71, -0.54], P value < 0.01). While there is a large amount of heterogeneity across study groups, a substantial amount of this variability can be accounted for by considering intervention type and change in body mass index (BMI). These variables were incorporated into a random-effects meta-regression model. Using this analysis, significant EAT reduction occurred with diet and BS but not with exercise. BMI reductions correlated significantly with EAT reductions for diet-based interventions, i.e. for some but not all interventions. In conclusion, EAT, a factor that is significantly associated with coronary artery disease, can be modified. The type of intervention, in addition to the amount of weight loss achieved, is predictive of the amount of EAT reduction.