Influence of excess fat on cardiac morphology and function: Study in uncomplicated obesity

Gianluca Iacobellis, Maria Cristina Ribaudo, Gaetano Leto, Alessandra Zappaterreno, Elio Vecci, Umberto Di Mario, Frida Leonetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate whether or not "uncomplicated" obesity (without associated comorbidities) is really associated with cardiac abnormalities. Research Methods and Procedures: We evaluated cardiac parameters in obese subjects with long-term obesity, normal glucose tolerance, normal blood pressure, and regular plasma lipids. We selected 75 obese patients [body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2], who included 58 women and 17 men (mean age, 33.7 ± 11.9 years; BMI, 37.8 ± 5.5 kg/m2) with a ≥ 10-year history of excess fat, and 60 age-matched normal-weight controls, who included 47 women and 13 men (mean age, 32.7 ± 10.4 years; BMI, 23.1 ± 1.4 kg/m2). Each subject underwent an oral glucose tolerance test to exclude impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes mellitus, bioelectrical impedance analysis to calculate fat mass and fat-free mass, and echocardiography. Results: Obese patients presented diastolic function impairment, hyperkinetic systole, and greater aortic root and left atrium compared with normal subjects. No statistically significant differences between obese subjects and normal subjects were found in indexed left ventricular mass (LVM/ body surface area, LVM/height2.7, and LVM/fat-free masskg), and no changes in left ventricular geometry were observed. No statistically significant differences in cardiac parameters between extreme (BMI > 40 kg/m2) and mild obesity (BMI < 35 kg/m2) were observed. Discussion: In conclusion, our data showed that obesity, in the absence of glucose intolerance, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, seems to be associated only with an impairment of diastolic function and hyperkinetic systole, and not with left ventricular hypertrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-773
Number of pages7
JournalObesity Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Echocardiography
  • Left ventricular geometry
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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