Non-invasive detection of early microvascular changes in juveniles with type 1 diabetes

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2023 Oct 21;22(1):285. doi: 10.1186/s12933-023-02031-y.


Aims/hypothesis: The study aimed to assess the usefulness of capillaroscopy and photoplethysmography in the search for early vascular anomalies in children with type 1 diabetes.

Methods: One hundred sixty children and adolescents aged 6-18, 125 patients with type 1 diabetes, and 35 healthy volunteers were enrolled in the study. We performed a detailed clinical evaluation, anthropometric measurements, nailfold capillaroscopy, and photoplethysmography.

Results: Patients with diabetes had more often abnormal morphology in capillaroscopy (68.60%, p = 0.019), enlarged capillaries (32.6%, p = 0.006), and more often more over five meandering capillaries (20.90%, p = 0.026) compared to healthy controls. Meandering capillaries correlated with higher parameters of nutritional status. In a photoplethysmography, patients with diagnosed neuropathy had a higher percentage of flow disturbance curves (p < 0.001) with a reduced frequency of normal curves (p = 0.050).

Conclusions: Capillaroscopic and photoplethysmographic examinations are non-invasive, painless, fast, and inexpensive. They are devoid of side effects, and there are no limitations in the frequency of their use and repetition. The usefulness of capillaroscopy and photoplethysmography in the study of microcirculation in diabetic patients indicates the vast application possibilities of these methods in clinical practice.

Keywords: Capillaroscopy; Complications; Microangiopathy; Microcirculation; Photoplethysmography; Type 1 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Capillaries
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Microscopic Angioscopy / methods
  • Nails / blood supply
  • Vascular Diseases*