The aim of our cross-sectional case-control study was to evaluate the mechanism of increased cardiac morbidity and mortality in Type 2 diabetic patients with normo-, micro-, and macroalbuminuria. Twenty-nine Type 2 diabetic patients with normoalbuminuria (group N), 19 patients with microalbuminuria (group M1), and seven patients with macroalbuminuria (group M2) were investigated. Groups were not significantly different concerning age, sex and diabetes duration. All patients took their normal medication throughout the study and had no clinical evidence of heart disease. Left ventricular mass index (LVMI) and systolic function were determined by echocardiography. As to the elevation of urinary albumin excretion levels, LVMI was significantly elevated, 101.4+/-20 gm(-2) of group N, 119.5+/-29 gm(-2) of group M1, and 141.9+/-27 gm(-2) of group M2. The prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) was significantly higher in group M2 (100%), and M1 (58%), as compared with group N (24%), but was not significantly different between groups M1 and M2. The body mass index and systolic blood pressure were significant independent predictors of LVMI by multiple regression analysis. In conclusion, the mechanism of the link between albuminuria and cardiovascular mortality was suggested to be LVH.