Objectives: The goal of this research was to study coronary atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes compared with patients without diabetes according to the new definition of diabetes advocated by the American Diabetes Association in 1997.
Background: Patients with diabetes (fasting plasma glucose above 7.0 mM/L) have a higher risk of cardiovascular death. The correlation with the pattern and severity of their coronary atherosclerosis, especially in the new patients with "mild" diabetes (7.0 mM/L < or = fasting plasma glucose < 7.8 mM/L), remains unclear.
Methods: A cohort of 466 patients undergoing coronary angiography but free of any previous infarction, coronary intervention and insulin therapy were prospectively recruited. Ninety-three had diabetes (fasting plasma glucose > 7.0 mM/L or hypoglycemic oral treatment). Five angiographic indexes were calculated to describe severity and extent of coronary atherosclerosis.
Results: Overall, patients with diabetes had more diffuse coronary atherosclerosis, a greater prevalence of mild, moderate and severe stenoses and a two-fold higher occlusion rate than patients without diabetes, even after adjustment for age, gender, body mass index, hypertension, lipid parameters, smoking, family history of cardiovascular events and ischemic symptoms. Patients with "mild diabetes" had a coronary atherosclerosis pattern more similar to patients with normal fasting plasma glucose than to patients formerly defined as diabetic according to the World Health Organization criteria, except that they had a higher prevalence of <50% stenoses.
Conclusions: In patients with type 2 diabetes, those with 7.0 mM/L < or = fasting plasma glucose < 7.7 mM/L have a slightly greater prevalence of mildly severe lesions that may partly explain their higher cardiovascular event rate.