Aims/hypothesis: Rates of vascular complications of diabetes in a cohort of mainland Chinese patients with diabetes, ascertained and examined by similar methodology, are compared with those of the WHO Multinational Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes (WHO MSVDD).
Methods: The standardised procedures carried out in the WHO MSVDD were followed in assembling and examining a Chinese cohort of 447 diabetic patients recruited in Beijing and Tianjin .
Results: Compared with the WHO MSVDD centres, the Chinese cohort was slightly older, had a shorter duration of known diabetes and had fewer insulin-treated patients. Arterial pressure, total blood cholesterol and body mass index were substantially lower. Large vessel disease rate for age, sex and duration adjusted data (17.9 % ) was about half that of the combined WHO MSVDD centres (33.5 % p < 0.001). However, retinopathy (47.4% vs 35.8% p < 0.001) and proteinuria (57.1 vs 24.9 % p < 0.001) rates were significantly higher.
Conclusion/interpretation: Relatively low arterial pressures and blood cholesterol are likely contributors to the notably low arterial disease rates in this Chinese diabetic cohort; they reflect low rates in the Chinese mainland general population and resemble the Tokyo and Hong Kong centres of the WHO MSVDD. The high rates of retinopathy and proteinuria could relate to later diagnosis, degree of hyperglycaemia and/or increased susceptibiltiy to microangiopathy.