Abdominal obesity is an independent cardiovascular risk factor. The coexistence of abdominal obesity and electrocardiographic abnormalities may facilitate the development of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. We determined the relationship of body fat distribution and obesity to ECG indices in 27 obese premenopausal women on an isocaloric diet. Intra-abdominal fat distribution was assessed by computerized tomography, and obesity was assessed by hydrostatic weighing. The PR, QRS, and QTC intervals, the P and QRS axes, and the P-QRS angle were determined from a resting electrocardiogram. Cardiovascular risk profile was assessed by systolic and diastolic blood pressure and plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Increased deposition of intra-abdominal fat was significantly associated with prolongation of the QTC interval independent of obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors. The prolongation of the QTC interval seen with increasing intra-abdominal fat distribution may enhance susceptibility to cardiac arrhythmias. These subjects should have electrocardiographic monitoring during periods of weight loss achieved by intensive regimens.
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