Background: The cross-sectional associations of cardiac autonomic neuropathy (CAN) with pulse wave analysis (PWA) measures (both arterial stiffness and myocardial perfusion) have not been explored in type 1 diabetes, despite recognition of an association of CAN with coronary artery disease.
Methods: Both CAN and PWA measures were obtained from 144 participants of the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes at the 18-year follow-up examination. CAN was measured as variability in the R-R interval during deep breathing, and PWA was performed using SphgymoCor Px (AtCor Medical, Sydney, Australia). Other clinical and demographic factors were also assessed. Univariate and multivariable analyses for associations with CAN were performed for arterial stiffness measures (augmentation index [AIx] and augmentation pressure [AP]) and a myocardial perfusion measure (subendocardial viability ratio [SEVR]).
Results: Presence of CAN was univariately associated with all three PWA measures: AIx (odds ratio [OR]=1.5, P=0.03), AP (OR=2.1, P=0.001), and SEVR (OR=0.4, P<0.001). These relationships persisted after adjustment for potential PWA confounders. Adjusting for age and diabetes-related factors (glycosylated hemoglobin, systolic blood pressure, and overt nephropathy), CAN only remained significantly associated with SEVR (OR=0.3, P=0.005).
Conclusions: CAN is cross-sectionally associated with measures of both increased arterial stiffness and decreased myocardial perfusion in type 1 diabetes; however, only the association with decreased estimated myocardial perfusion persisted in fully adjusted models. These results provide potential insight into the CAN association with coronary artery disease.