Aims: We investigated whether cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) is associated with acute ischaemic stroke in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
Methods: From 1999 to 2000, cardiovascular autonomic function tests were conducted in patients with Type 2 diabetes (n = 1458). Patients were followed up between 2006 and 2007. Standard tests for CAN measured heart rate variability parameters [expiration-to-inspiration (E/I) ratio, responses to the Valsalva manoeuvre and standing]. Using the American Diabetes Association criteria, the CAN scores were determined from the results of each test as follows: 0 = normal, 1 = abnormal (total maximum score 3). We assessed the development of acute ischaemic stroke events.
Results: The prevalence of CAN at baseline was 55.7% (E/I 17.1%, Valsalva 39.4%, posture 27.3%) (n = 1126). During follow-up, 131 patients (11.6%) developed acute ischaemic stroke. The vascular events were more frequent in older patients (P < 0.001) and in those with diabetes of longer duration (P = 0.022), hypertension (P < 0.001) or diabetic retinopathy (P = 0.03) than in patients without vascular events. Patients with ischaemic stroke had higher creatinine levels (P = 0.045) and higher urine albumin excretion (P = 0.025) than those of patients without stroke. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis revealed that the CAN score was associated with the development of acute ischaemic stroke (total score 0 vs. 3, adjusted hazard ratio 2.7, 95% CI 1.3-5.5, P = 0.006).
Conclusion: Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction was significantly associated with the development of ischaemic stroke in patients with Type 2 diabetes.