Even mild coronary artery disease in people with diabetes is associated with the increased risk of a heart attack or heart disease.
Long-term study
A new long-term study from the University of British Columbia at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver analysed data on 1,823 patients with diabetes who underwent cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA).
CCTA is a test used to produce images of the heart and its blood vessels, as well as the arteries that supply the heart with blood.
This was done to detect and determine the extent of coronary artery diseases and predict any possible adverse cardiac events.
Coronary artery disease sees plaque group up inside the arteries of the heart. This causes the artery wall to thicke, which in some cases can completely obstruct blood flow.
Risk of cardiovascular events
Both obstructive and mild or non-obstructive coronary artery disease in people with diabetes, as determined by CCTA, was related to patient deaths and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE).
The study also found that patients with mild coronary artery disease had a comparable relative risk for MACE, or even death, to that of patients with single vessel obstructive disease.
“Our five-year follow-up data suggests that non-obstructive and obstructive coronary artery disease as detected by cardiac CTA in diabetic patients are both associated with higher rates of mortality,” said Dr. Jonathan Leipsic, M.D., vice chairman of the Department of Radiology at the University of British Columbia.
“Cardiac CT angiography is helpful for identifying diabetic patients who are at higher risk for heart events, who may benefit from more aggressive therapy to help modify that risk.”

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