Background: New and clinically useful markers of cardiovascular risk are of essence in type 2 diabetes since ischemic heart disease is a major cause of death in these patients.
Methods: We analyzed baseline data from 476 men and 244 women who participated in "Cardiovascular Risk factors in Patients with Diabetes -a Prospective study in Primary care" study. All participants had type 2 diabetes and were 55-66 years old at recruitment during year 2005 to 2008. Except for established traditional risk markers for vascular disease, we also estimated vascular complications non-invasively by performance of carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (PWV, with applanation-tonometry) and intima-media thickness of carotid arteries (IMT, with B-mode ultrasound). Patients were followed for incidence of ischemic heart disease mortality and morbidity until end of the year 2012, using the national Swedish Cause of Death and Hospitalization Registries.
Results: During the follow-up period of a median of 6 years 47 men and 10 women died or were hospitalized for ischemic heart disease including myocardial infarction. Leptin levels were positively related to the hazard ratio (HR) in men (HR for each log 10 unit 4.9, CI 1.99 to 11.8) and women (HR 11.5, CI 1.47 to 89.7). Leptin predicted ischemic heart disease independently of age, HbA1c, BMI, systolic blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratio (men: HR 12.9 CI 3.2-53, women: HR 19.9, CI 1.2-327) This finding of increased risk related to high leptin levels was also statistically significant when carotid-femoral PWV and IMT were both added to the equations in men (hazard ratio 9.2 CI 2.1-41).
Conclusions: Our data support the use of serum leptin in type 2 diabetes to add independent prognostic information in terms of ischemic heart disease when compared with traditional cardiovascular risk factors. In the men of the cohort this prognostic information was in addition also to data on IMT and PWV, two non-invasive measurements of the extent of vascular disease. The power to detect a similar relationship in women was less strong due to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01049737.