Use of cardiovascular imaging in risk restratification of the diabetic patient

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2021 Apr 1;28(2):122-133. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000611.


Purpose of review: Diabetes mellitus is no longer considered a cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk equivalent, but the optimal methods of risk stratification are a matter of debate. The coronary calcium score (CCS) is a measure of the burden of atherosclerosis and is widely used for CVD risk stratification in the general population. We review recently published data to describe the role of the CCS in people with diabetes mellitus.

Recent findings: People with diabetes mellitus have 10-year event rates for CVD and CVD mortality that are considered high, at a much lower level of CCS than the general population. Different categories of CCS are pertinent to men and women with diabetes mellitus. CCS may be particularly useful in clinical settings when CVD risk is known to be increased but difficult to quantify, for example peri-menopausal women, young persons with diabetes, type 1 diabetic individuals and others. With modern techniques, the radiation dose of a CSS has fallen to levels wherein screening and surveillance could be considered.

Summary: The CCS is able to quantify CVD risk in people with diabetes mellitus when there is clinical uncertainty and identifies those with very high event rates. Future research should aim to identify effective risk reduction strategies in this important group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Uncertainty