Fat around the heart may be detrimental for cardiac function, especially in patients with metabolic disease such as diabtes.
During the Radiological Society of North America meeting, researchers from Leiden University Medical Center, in Netherlands, assessed the long-term effects of initial weight loss using caloric restriction on pericardial fat content and cardiac function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Pericardial refers to a double-walled sac that contains the heart and the beginning of the great vessels.
First, the details.
15 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus were evaluated before and after 4 months of dieting using cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Measurements were repeated after an additional 14 months of a normal diet.
Pericardial fat and left ventricular diastolic function was measured.
Left ventricular diastole is the time from the end of ejection of blood from the heart until just prior to the heart starting the next beat.
And, the results.
Dieting resulted in decreased body mass index (BMI) from 35 to 28.
After 14 more months on a regular diet, BMI increased significantly to 32.
There was significant improvement in diastolic function, which was maintained over 18 months.
Improved heart function correlated with reductions in pericardial fat,
Despite weight gain after 14 months, pericardial fat remained significantly lower.
No changes in systolic function were observed.
The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Sustained improvements in left ventricular diastolic function are associated with a decrease in pericardial fat content in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated with caloric restriction.”
In English, dieting improves heart function in patients with type 2 diabetes, and the benefits remain after completing the diet.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.