10 Jul What is epicardial adipose tissue (EAT)?
A 2014 study defines EAT as a “fat depot that exists on the surface of the myocardium and is contained entirely beneath the pericardium, thus surrounding and in direct contact with the major coronary arteries and their branches.” Due to improvements in imaging technologies, we can accurately quantify and measure EAT. This biologically active organ plays a detrimental role in our health. Research notes that while EAT can benefit our overall cardiovascular health, it can also weaken it.
- EAT stores energy, making it a vital source of fuel for the heart
- Generates anti-inflammatory agents, protecting the heart
- Reduces friction between the coronary arteries and tissues that surround the heart when it beats
- Release of pro-inflammatory cells
- Can be associated with atrial fibrillation
- Promote stiffness in the heart muscle, leading to heart failure
- Possible role in the formation of artery-clogging plaque