Material and methods: One hundred and forty-four diabetic patients with biopsy-proven diffuse diabetic glomerulosclerosis (DIF), 134 patients with nodular diabetic nephropathy (NOD) and 152 diabetic patients with nondiabetic-related morphology (104 chronic nephropathy, 48 primary GN) were followed for up to 12 years to determine the clinical prognosis.
Results: Comparing the NOD patients with the DIF patients, there were more females (41% vs 26%, p < 0.05) and they were more often uremic at biopsy (24% vs 12%, p < 0.01), but the age was similar (53.3 years vs 50.1 years, NS). There was no difference in diabetes type I and II incidence. Compared with the general population, the odds ratio (OR) for death was 7.2 (confidence interval 5.5-9.5) for DIF and 10.8 (8.5-13.7) for NOD. The OR for combined renal or patient death was: DIF 15.2 (11.7-19.7); NOD 24.6 (19.4-31.0). After correction for age, sex, and pre-existing uremia, NOD had a 1.70 (p < 0.01) times increased risk of death compared with DIF, and a 2.42 (p < 0.01) times increased risk of renal failure. The life expectancy for NOD was 4.0 years, and average time to dialysis was 2.1 years. NOD prognosis was similar to other chronic nephropathy. The incidence of all atherosclerotic complications except AMI was twice as high in NOD than DIF. Diabetes type had no influence on prognosis. The estimated incidence of diabetic nephropathy was 56/mio/year.
Conclusion: Nodular diabetic nephropathy has a poorer prognosis than diffuse due to a higher rate of atherosclerotic and uremic complications.