Objective: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) demonstrated the powerful impact of glycemic control on the early manifestations of microvascular complications. Contemporary prospective data on the evolution of macrovascular and late microvascular complications of type 1 diabetes are limited. The Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study is a multicenter, longitudinal, observational study designed to use the well-characterized DCCT cohort of > 1,400 patients to determine the long-term effects of prior separation of glycemic levels on micro- and macrovascular outcomes.
Research design and methods: Using a standardized annual history and physical examination, 28 EDIC clinical centers that were DCCT clinics will follow the EDIC cohort for 10 years. Annual evaluation also includes resting electrocardiogram. Doppler ultrasound measurements of ankle/arm blood pressure, and screening for nephropathy. At regular intervals, a timed 4-h urine is collected, lipid profiles are obtained, and stereoscopic fundus photographs are taken. In addition, dual B-mode Doppler ultrasound scans of the common and internal carotid arteries will be performed at years 1 and 6 and at study end.
Results: Written informed consent was obtained from 96% of the DCCT subjects. The participants, compared with nonparticipants, tended to have better glycemic control at the completion of the DCCT and were more likely to have their diabetes care provided by DCCT personnel. The EDIC baseline measurement stratified by sex delineates multiple cardiovascular disease risk factor differences such as age (older in men), waist-to-hip ratio (higher in men). HDL cholesterol (lower in men), hypertension (more prevalent in men), and maximum intimal-medial thickness of common and internal carotid arteries (thicker in men). Of the original conventional treatment group, 69% have changed to continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion or multiple daily injections. Although the mean HbA1c difference between the intensive and conventional treatment groups narrowed at EDIC years 1 and 2, HbA1c remained significantly lower in the intensive group. Of all expected clinic visits, 95% were completed, and the quality of EDIC data is very similar to that observed in the DCCT.
Conclusions: Although obvious problems exist in extended follow-up studies of completed clinical trials, these are balanced by the value of continued systematic observation of the DCCT cohort. In contrast to other epidemiologic studies, EDIC will provide 1) definitive data on type 1 as distinct from type 2 diabetes; 2) reliance on prospective rather than on cross-sectional analysis; 3) long-term follow-up in a large population; 4) consistent use of objective, reliable measures of outcomes and glycemia; and 5) observation of patients from before the onset of complications.