Until 60 years ago, fatty heart was an accepted clinical entity. Since then, its very existence has been questioned, despite the fact that 2 of 3 Americans are now obese or overweight and obesity has been shown to be correlated with cardiac functional abnormalities. In 2000, a syndrome of "lipotoxic cardiomyopathy" resembling earlier pathologic descriptions of fatty human hearts was described in rodents, and fatty infiltration of cardiomyocytes was subsequently reported in patients with congestive failure. Now, magnetic resonance spectroscopy has been adapted to permit routine noninvasive screening for fatty heart. The use of this technique in human volunteers indicates that cardiomyocyte fat correlates well with body mass index and is elevated in uncomplicated obesity. It is more severe when glucose tolerance becomes abnormal or diabetes is present. It is associated with impaired diastolic filling, even in seemingly asymptomatic obese volunteers. Because fatty heart can be readily prevented by lifestyle modification and pharmacologic interventions that reduce caloric intake and increase fatty acid oxidation, it seems important to recognize its existence so as to intervene as early as possible.
- Fatty heart
- Lipotoxic cardiomyopathy
- Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine