Aims: To examine the prevalence of early diabetes complications 6 years after diagnosis of diabetes. The hypothesis that initial contact with a multidisciplinary team would be associated with a reduced risk of microvascular complications was tested in this cohort.
Methods: Participants were recruited from an incident cohort of children aged < 15 years diagnosed between 1990 and 1992 in NSW, Australia. Initial management at a teaching hospital was documented at case notification. At 6 years, health care questionnaires and complications were assessed: retinopathy by 7-field stereoscopic retinal photography and elevated albumin excretion rate (AER) defined as the median of three overnight urine collections > or = 7.5 microg/min. Case attainment was 58% (209/361) with participants younger than non-participants and more likely living in an urban than rural location.
Results: Retinopathy was present in 24%, median AER > or = 7.5 microg/min in 18%, and median AER > or = 20 microg/min in 2%. In multivariate analysis, initial management at a teaching hospital or consultation with all three allied health professionals combined with pubertal staging and cholesterol or HbA1c were all determinants of risk for retinopathy.
Conclusions: Early retinopathy and elevated AER are common in children 6 years after diagnosis. Initial allied health contact and management at a teaching hospital were associated with a reduced risk of microvascular complications in this cohort.