Background: A high prevalence of newly detected diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance (abnormal glucose tolerance) was recently reported in patients with acute myocardial infarction. It is important to verify whether this finding is specific for the patients or attributable to the population, from which they were recruited.
Objective: To verify whether abnormal glucose tolerance is more prevalent in patients than in controls chosen from the same population and to compare metabolic characteristics between the two groups.
Design and subjects: The metabolic state was assessed in patients (n = 181) admitted with acute myocardial infarction and no history of diabetes before discharge and after 3 months. Sex- and age-matched controls (n = 185) without previously known diabetes or cardiovascular disease except hypertension were recruited from the general population.
Main outcome measures: Oral glucose tolerance test, glucosylated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), insulin, proinsulin, lipid profile, fibrinolytic function and inflammatory markers.
Results: Abnormal glucose tolerance was more common (number/all classified) in patients at discharge 113/168 (67%) and after 3 months 95/145 (66%) than in controls 65/185 (35%) (P < 0.001). Dyslipidaemia (70% vs. 29%; P < 0.001) and previously treated hypertension (32% vs. 18%; P = 0.028) were more frequent amongst patients whilst obesity (18% vs. 24%) did not differ significantly. Blood glucose, HbA1c, proinsulin, proinsulin/insulin ratio, triglycerides, insulin resistance (by HOMA) and fibrinogen were consistently higher in patients than controls (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Abnormal glucose tolerance was almost twice as common amongst patients with acute myocardial infarction as in matched controls. Impaired glycaemic control accompanied by insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, together with increased plasma fibrinogen and proinsulin levels were main features characterizing patients.