Objective: Type 2 diabetic patients have an increased arterial stiffness and a very high risk of cardiovascular death. The present study investigated the relationship between pulse pressure, an indicator of vascular stiffness, and risk of cardiovascular mortality among type 2 diabetic and non-diabetic individuals. Second, we determined the relationship between pulse pressure and its main determinant (i.e. age), and the influence of diabetes and mean arterial pressure on this relationship.
Design and methods: We studied a cohort of 2484 individuals including 208 type 2 diabetic patients. Mean age and median follow-up for non-diabetic and diabetic individuals, respectively, were 61 and 66 years, and 8.8 and 8.6 years. One-hundred and sixteen non-diabetic and 34 diabetic individuals died of cardiovascular causes. Relative risks of cardiovascular mortality were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for age, gender and mean arterial pressure.
Results: Pulse pressure was associated with cardiovascular mortality among the diabetic, but not among the non-diabetic individuals [adjusted relative risk (95% confidence interval) per 10 mmHg increase, 1.27 (1.00-1.61) and 0.98 (0.85-1.13), P interaction = 0.07]. Further adjustment for other risk factors gave similar results. The association, at baseline, between age and pulse pressure was dependent on the presence of diabetes (P interaction = 0.03) and on the mean arterial pressure (P interaction< 0.001) (i.e. there was a stronger association when diabetes was present and when mean arterial pressure was higher).
Conclusions: We conclude that, in type 2 diabetes, pulse pressure is positively associated with cardiovascular mortality. The association between age and pulse pressure is influenced by the presence of type 2 diabetes and by the height of the mean arterial pressure. These findings support the concept of accelerated vascular aging in type 2 diabetes.