Background: Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is associated with adverse cardiovascular prognosis. However, the risk associated with DM may vary between individuals according to their overall cardiovascular risk burden. Therefore, we aimed to determine whether DM is associated with poor outcome in patients presenting with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) according to the index episode being a first or recurrent cardiovascular event.
Methods and findings: We conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospective cohort study involving 2499 consecutively admitted patients with confirmed ACS in 11 UK hospitals during 2003. Usual care was provided for all participants. Demographic factors, co-morbidity and treatment (during admission and at discharge) factors were recorded. The primary outcome was all cause mortality (median 2 year follow up), compared for cohorts with and without DM according to their prior cardiovascular disease (CVD) disease status. Adjusted analyses were performed with Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. Within the entire cohort, DM was associated with an unadjusted 45% increase in mortality. However, in patients free of a history of CVD, mortality of those with and without DM was similar (18.8% and 19.7% respectively; p = 0.74). In the group with CVD, mortality of patients with DM was significantly higher than those without DM (46.7% and 33.2% respectively; p<0.001). The age and sex adjusted interaction between DM and CVD in predicting mortality was highly significant (p = 0.002) and persisted after accounting for comorbidities and treatment factors (p = 0.006). Of patients free of CVD, DM was associated with smaller elevation of Troponin I (p<0.001). However in patients with pre-existing CVD Troponin I was similar (p = 0.992).
Conclusions: DM is only associated with worse outcome after ACS in patients with a pre-existing history of CVD. Differences in the severity of myocyte necrosis may account for this. Further investigation is required, though our findings suggest that aggressive primary prevention of CVD in patients with DM may have beneficially modified their first presentation with (and mortality after) ACS.