Aims: To determine whether diabetic autonomic neuropathy is an important factor contributing to mortality in Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Methods: Between 1989 and 1993, 431 men and 181 women with Type 2 diabetes were given diabetic autonomic neuropathy cardiovascular reflex (CVR) tests. These subjects were followed for the subsequent 5--9 years to assess mortality rates.
Results: The prevalence rate of abnormal CVR tests was 46.1% in patients with the history of diabetes less than 5 years and up to 69.4% when the history of diabetes exceeded 20 years. During the follow-up period from 1 January 1989 to 31 December 1997 (mean 7.7 years), a total of 135 participants died. The 8-year survival rate for patients with abnormal CVR tests was 63.6% in males and 76.4% in females, compared with 80.9 and 93.3% for patients with normal CVR tests. The results were grouped as: group 1, normal CVR tests without postural hypotension (PHT); group 2, normal CVR tests with PHT; group 3, abnormal CVR tests without PHT; and group 4, abnormal CVR tests with PHT. The 8-year survival rate was 85.4% in group 1, 80.9% in group 2, 74.5% in group 3 and 61.1% in group 4.
Conclusion: Type 2 diabetic patients with abnormal CVR tests may have increased mortality, and those combined with postural hypotension have higher mortality than those without. Abnormal CVR tests may be important predictors of mortality in Type 2 diabetes mellitus.