Ultrasound Measurements of Visceral and Subcutaneous Abdominal Thickness to Predict Abdominal Adiposity Among Older Men and Women

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.
Obesity (Impact Factor: 3.73). 09/2009; 18(3):625-31. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2009.309
Source: PubMed


Accurate measures of visceral and abdominal subcutaneous fat are essential for investigating the pathophysiology of obesity. Classical anthropometric measures such as waist and hip circumference cannot distinguish between these two fat depots. Direct imaging methods such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are restricted in large-scale studies due to practical and ethical issues. We aimed to establish whether ultrasound is a valid alternative method to MRI for the quantitative assessment of abdominal fat depots in older individuals. The study population comprised 74 white individuals (41 men and 33 women, aged 67-76 years) participating in the Hertfordshire Birth Cohort Physical Activity trial. Anthropometry included height, weight, waist and hip circumferences. Abdominal fat was measured by ultrasound in two compartments: visceral fat defined as the depth from the peritoneum to the lumbar spine; and subcutaneous fat defined as the depth from the skin to the abdominal muscles and compared to reference measures by MRI (10-mm single-slice image). Ultrasound measures were positively correlated with MRI measures of visceral and subcutaneous fat (visceral: r = 0.82 and r = 0.80 in men and women, respectively; subcutaneous: r = 0.63 and 0.68 in men and women, respectively). In multiple regression models, the addition of ultrasound measures significantly improved the prediction of visceral fat and subcutaneous fat in both men and women over and above the contribution of standard anthropometric variables. In conclusion, ultrasound is a valid method to estimate visceral fat in epidemiological studies of older men and women when MRI and computed tomography are not feasible.

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Available from: Emanuella De Lucia Rolfe, Nov 20, 2014
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    • "However, growing evidence reveals that US is a noninvasive and reliable method to estimate these two fat compartments. Its validity compared to CT or MRI has been tested in diverse groups including older individuals, obese adults and patients with T2DM [11-13,25]. To the best of our knowledge, only two studies have investigated the differential associations of VFT and SFT measured by US with subclinical atherosclerosis in T2DM, until now [13,19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Whereas visceral abdominal adipose tissue (VAT) is associated with cardiometabolic risk, there is debate regarding the role of subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (SAT). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships of subcutaneous and visceral abdominal fat with carotid atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). A total of 234 patients (men 131, women 103, mean age: 53 years) with T2DM were enrolled. Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), abdominal subcutaneous fat thickness (SFT) and visceral fat thickness (VFT) were assessed by high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography (US). Compared to women, men had significantly higher VFT and lower SFT (p = 0.002, p = 0.04, respectively). In partial correlation coefficient analyses between CIMT and abdominal fat thickness after adjustment for body mass index (BMI), SFT showed a negative correlation with CIMT in men (r = -0.27, p = 0.03). VFT was not correlated with CIMT in either men or women. In women, SFT was not correlated with CIMT (r = -0.01, p = 0.93). VFT/SFT ratio was not correlated with CIMT in either men or women. In multivariate regression analyses adjusted for BMI and other CVD risk factors, SFT but not VFT was independently inversely associated with CIMT in men but not in women (p < 0.001). SFT assessed by US was inversely associated with carotid atherosclerosis in patients with T2DM, particularly men. Further research into the different roles of the two types of abdominal adipose tissue in both men and women is warranted.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Cardiovascular Diabetology
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    • "Ultrasonography has a high diagnostic value in acute cases (Busoni et al. 2011; Beccati et al. 2011), but it is generally only able to differentiate between strangulating and nonstrangulating causes of obstruction, not in defining the exact cause of the strangulation i.e. volvulus, lipoma, mesenteric rent. In man, ultrasonography is a validated method to evaluate visceral and abdominal adiposity (Rolfe et al. 2010). In contrast, ultrasonographic investigation of the equine abdomen is often limited by the thickness of the abdominal fat layer and evaluation of visceral adiposity has not been reported. "
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    ABSTRACT: Colic is a major cause of veterinary attendance in general practice and although most colic episodes remain isolated, recurrence may occur and definitive diagnosis can be difficult to obtain. This report describes an unusual presentation of a lipoma in a middle‐aged horse presented for recurrent colic. A massive lipoma causing a nonstrangulating space occupying obstruction of the small intestine was found during an exploratory celiotomy and was considered to be the most likely cause of the recurrent episodes of abdominal discomfort.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Equine Veterinary Education
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    • "The mean SAT (3.5 and 1.8 cm among women and men, respectively) was higher than that of other populations measured by ultrasound (14,19), whereas VAT measures were similar to these populations. These findings suggest a large capacity among Inuit to store energy subcutaneously. "
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVEA high amount of subcutaneous fat is suggested to explain the observation of lower obesity-associated metabolic risk among Inuit than among Europeans. We examined the association between measures of obesity (visceral adipose tissue [VAT], subcutaneous adipose tissue [SAT], BMI, waist circumference [WC], and percentage of body fat) and the indices of glucose metabolism (fasting and 2-h glucose levels, insulin resistance per homeostasis model assessment [HOMA-IR], and the insulin sensitivity index [ISI0,120]) among Greenland Inuit.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSA total of 3,108 adult Inuit participated in a population-based study. The examination included a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test and anthropometric measurements. VAT and SAT were measured by ultrasound according to a validated protocol. Information on sociodemographic characteristics and health behaviors was obtained by interview.RESULTSMean SATs were 1.8 and 3.5 cm in men and women, respectively. Mean VATs were 7.0 and 6.3 cm in men and women, respectively. The total prevalence of type 2 diabetes was 9%. Percentage of body fat generally was most strongly associated with all outcomes. Both SAT and VAT were significantly associated with glucose intolerance, fasting and 2-h P-glucose levels, HOMA-IR, and ISI0,120. VAT was more strongly associated with all outcomes than was SAT. After further adjustment for BMI or WC, VAT was associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, whereas there was a trend toward a negative or no association with SAT.CONCLUSIONS High mean values of SAT may to a large extent explain the high WC in Inuit populations, and this is suggested to contribute to the lower observed metabolic risk for a given level of obesity.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Diabetes care
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