Influence of Diabetes Mellitus on Heart Failure Risk and Outcome

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2003 Jan 8;2:1. doi: 10.1186/1475-2840-2-1.


Our aim is to summarize and discuss the recent literature linking diabetes mellitus with heart failure, and to address the issue of the optimal treatment for diabetic patients with heart failure. THE STUDIES LINKING DIABETES MELLITUS (DM) WITH HEART FAILURE (HF) : The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in heart failure populations is close to 20% compared with 4 to 6% in control populations. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated an increased risk of heart failure in diabetics; moreover, in diabetic populations, poor glycemic control has been associated with an increased risk of heart failure. Various mechanisms may link diabetes mellitus to heart failure: firstly, associated comorbidities such as hypertension may play a role; secondly, diabetes accelerates the development of coronary atherosclerosis; thirdly, experimental and clinical studies support the existence of a specific diabetic cardiomyopathy related to microangiopathy, metabolic factors or myocardial fibrosis. Subgroup analyses of randomized trials demonstrate that diabetes is also an important prognostic factor in heart failure. In addition, it has been suggested that the deleterious impact of diabetes may be especially marked in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy. TREATMENT OF HEART FAILURE IN DIABETIC PATIENTS : The knowledge of the diabetic status may help to define the optimal therapeutic strategy for heart failure patients. Cornerstone treatments such as ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers appear to be uniformly beneficial in diabetic and non diabetic populations. However, in ischemic cardiomyopathy, the choice of the revascularization technique may differ according to diabetic status. Finally, clinical studies are needed to determine whether improved metabolic control might favorably influence the outcome of diabetic heart failure patients.