Context: Alström syndrome is characterized by increased risk of cardiovascular disease from childhood.
Objective: To explore the association between risk factors for cardiovascular disease, aortic pulse wave velocity, and vascular events in Alström syndrome.
Design: Cross-sectional analyses with 5-year follow-up.
Setting: The UK NHS nationally commissioned specialist clinics for Alström syndrome.
Patients: Thirty-one Alström patients undertook vascular risk assessment, cardiac studies, and aortic pulse wave velocity measurement. Subsequent clinical outcomes were recorded.
Interventions: Insulin resistance was treated with lifestyle intervention and metformin, and diabetes with the addition of glitazones, glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists, and/or insulin. Thyroid and T deficiencies were corrected. Dyslipidemia was treated with statins and nicotinic acid derivatives. Cardiomyopathy was treated with standard therapy as required.
Main outcome measures: The associations of age, gender, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease with aortic pulse wave velocity were assessed and correlated with the effects of reduction in left ventricular function. Vascular events were monitored for 5 years.
Results: Aortic pulse wave velocity was positively associated with the duration of diabetes (P = .001) and inversely with left ventricular ejection fraction (P = .036). Five of the cohort with cardiovascular events had higher aortic pulse wave velocity (P = .0247), and all had long duration of diabetes.
Conclusions: Duration of diabetes predicted aortic pulse wave velocity in Alström syndrome, which in turn predicted cardiovascular events. This offers hope of secondary prevention because type 2 diabetes can be delayed or reversed by lifestyle interventions.