Aims/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to obtain epidemiological data on self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) in type 2 diabetes and to investigate the relationship of SMBG with disease-related morbidity and mortality.
Methods: The German multicentre Retrolective Study 'Self-monitoring of Blood Glucose and Outcome in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes' (ROSSO) followed 3,268 patients from diagnosis of type 2 diabetes between 1995 and 1999 until the end of 2003. Endpoints were diabetes-related morbidity (non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, foot amputation, blindness or haemodialysis) and all-cause mortality. SMBG was defined as self-measurement of blood glucose for at least 1 year.
Results: During a mean follow-up period of 6.5 years, 1,479 patients (45.3%) began SMBG prior to an endpoint and an additional 64 patients started SMBG after a non-fatal endpoint. Interestingly, many patients used SMBG while being treated with diet or oral hypoglycaemic drugs (808 of 2,515, 32%). At baseline, the SMBG cohort had higher mean fasting blood glucose levels than the non-SMBG cohort (p<0.001), suggesting that insufficient metabolic control was one reason for initiating SMBG. This was associated with a higher rate of microvascular endpoints. However, the total rate of non-fatal events, micro- and macrovascular, was lower in the SMBG group than in the non-SMBG group (7.2 vs 10.4%, p=0.002). A similar difference was found for the rate of fatal events (2.7 vs 4.6%, p=0.004). Cox regression analysis identified SMBG as an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality, with adjusted hazard ratios of 0.68 (95% CI 0.51-0.91, p=0.009) and 0.49 (95% CI 0.31-0.78, p=0.003), respectively. A better outcome for both endpoints was also observed in the SMBG cohort when only those patients who were not receiving insulin were analysed.
Conclusions/interpretation: SMBG was associated with decreased diabetes-related morbidity and all-cause mortality in type 2 diabetes, and this association remained in a subgroup of patients who were not receiving insulin therapy. SMBG may be associated with a healthier lifestyle and/or better disease management.