Associations of Microvascular Complications With the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes Care. 2021 Jul;44(7):1499-1505. doi: 10.2337/dc20-3104. Epub 2021 May 12.


Objective: We examined whether the presence of microvascular complications was associated with increased subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among participants with type 1 diabetes in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) study followed for >35 years.

Research design and methods: Standardized longitudinal data collection included: 1) stereoscopic seven-field retinal fundus photography centrally graded for retinopathy stage and clinically significant macular edema; 2) urinary albumin excretion rate (AER) and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR); 3) cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) reflex testing; and 4) adjudicated CVD events, including death from CVD, nonfatal myocardial infarction, stroke, subclinical myocardial infarction on electrocardiogram, confirmed angina, or coronary artery revascularization. Cox proportional hazards models assessed the association of microvascular complications with subsequent risk of CVD.

Results: A total of 239 participants developed CVD, including 120 participants who suffered major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) defined as nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or cardiovascular death. The presence of microvascular disease (diabetic retinopathy, kidney disease, or CAN) was associated with increased risk of subsequent CVD and MACE (hazard ratios 1.86 to 3.18 and 2.09 to 3.63, respectively), associations that remained significant after adjusting for age and HbA1c. After adjustment for traditional CVD risk factors, however, only sustained AER ≥30 mg/24 h occurring alone and/or with eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 and the presence of both retinal and kidney disease remained associated with CVD.

Conclusions: Advanced microvascular disease, especially moderate to severe albuminuria or eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2, conveyed an increased risk of subsequent cardiovascular disease in the DCCT/EDIC cohort.

Trial registration: NCT00360893 NCT00360815.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / etiology
  • Cardiovascular System*
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors

Associated data

  • figshare/10.2337/figshare.14356943