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Diabetes Care. 2010 Mar;33(3):652-7. doi: 10.2337/dc09-1936. Epub 2009 Dec 29.

Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy, HDL cholesterol, and smoking correlate with arterial stiffness markers determined 18 years later in type 1 diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


OBJECTIVE To examine the relationship between cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy and pulse waveform analysis (PWA) measures of arterial stiffness in a childhood-onset type 1 diabetes population. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Cardiac autonomic nerve function was measured in the baseline examination of the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes by heart rate variability (R-R interval) during deep breathing and expressed as expiration-to-inspiration (E/I) ratio. Other cardiovascular and diabetes factors were also assessed. PWA was performed using SphgymoCor Px on 144 participants at the 18-year follow-up examination. Univariate and multivariate analyses for associations between baseline nerve function and other cardiovascular and diabetes-related factors were performed for augmentation index (AIx), augmentation pressure (AP), and subendocardial viability ratio (SEVR), a surrogate marker of myocardial perfusion. RESULTS E/I ratio correlated negatively with both AIx (r = -0.18, P = 0.03) and AP (r = -0.32, P < 0.001) and positively with SEVR (r = 0.47, P < 0.001) univariately. Lower baseline E/I ratio, HDL cholesterol, and a history of smoking were associated with higher follow-up (18 years later) AIx and AP and lower SEVR in multivariate analyses. Higher baseline HbA(1) was also associated with higher AP and lower SEVR multivariately. CONCLUSIONS Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy is associated with increased arterial stiffness measures and decreased estimated myocardial perfusion in those with type 1 diabetes some 18 years later. This association persists after adjustment for potential confounders as well as for baseline HbA(1), HDL cholesterol, and smoking history, which were also associated with these PWA measures.

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