Objective: To evaluate the relationship between long-term glycemia, traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, and ascending aortic stiffness in type 1 diabetes.
Research design and methods: Eight hundred seventy-nine subjects in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT)/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study were evaluated. The stiffness/distensibility of the ascending thoracic aorta (AA) was measured with magnetic resonance imaging. Associations of AA distensibility and CVD risk factors, mean HbA1c, and cardiovascular complications including macroalbuminuria were assessed using multivariate linear regression models.
Results: The mean age of the subjects was 50 ± 7 years (47% women, mean diabetes duration of 28 years). Over 22 years of follow-up, 27% of participants had cardiovascular complications. After adjusting for gender and cohort, AA distensibility was lower with increasing age, mean systolic blood pressure, LDL, and HbA1c measured over an average of 22 years (-26.3% per 10 years, -11.0% per 10 mmHg SBP, -1.8% per 10 mg/dL of LDL, and -9.3% per unit mean HbA1c [%], respectively). Patients with macroalbuminuria had 25% lower AA distensibility compared with those without (P < 0.0001). Lower AA distensibility also was associated with greater ratio of left ventricular mass to volume (-3.4% per 0.1 g/mL; P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Our findings indicate strong adverse effects of hypertension, chronic hyperglycemia and macroalbuminuria on AA stiffness in type 1 diabetes in the DCCT/EDIC cohort.