Coronary artery calcification and epicardial adipose tissue as independent predictors of mortality in COVID-19

Leandro Slipczuk, Francesco Castagna, Alison Schonberger, Eitan Novogrodsky, Richard Sekerak, Damini Dey, Ulrich P. Jorde, Jeffrey M. Levsky, Mario J. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Recent epidemiological studies have demonstrated that common cardiovascular risk factors are strongly associated with adverse outcomes in COVID-19. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) and epicardial fat (EAT) have shown to outperform traditional risk factors in predicting cardiovascular events in the general population. We aim to determine if CAC and EAT determined by Computed Tomographic (CT) scanning can predict all-cause mortality in patients admitted with COVID-19 disease. We performed a retrospective, post-hoc analysis of all patients admitted to Montefiore Medical Center with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis from March 1st, 2020 to May 2nd, 2020 who had a non-contrast CT of the chest within 5 years prior to admission. We determined ordinal CAC scores and quantified the epicardial (EAT) and thoracic (TAT) fat volume and examined their relationship with inpatient mortality. A total of 493 patients were analyzed. There were 197 deaths (39.95%). Patients who died during the index admission had higher age (72, [64–80] vs 68, [57–76]; p < 0.001), CAC score (3, [0–6] vs 1, [0–4]; p < 0.001) and EAT (107, [70–152] vs 94, [64–129]; p = 0.023). On a competing risk analysis regression model, CAC ≥ 4 and EAT ≥ median (98 ml) were independent predictors of mortality with increased mortality of 63% (p = 0.003) and 43% (p = 0.032), respectively. As a composite, the group with a combination of CAC ≥ 4 and EAT ≥ 98 ml had the highest mortality. CAC and EAT measured from chest CT are strong independent predictors of inpatient mortality from COVID-19 in this high-risk cohort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3093-3100
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Coronary artery calcium
  • Covid
  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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