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Am J Cardiol. 1999 Jan 1;83(1):27-31.

Silent myocardial ischemia and microalbuminuria in asymptomatic subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Medicine, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.


Microalbuminuria is an increase in urinary albumin not detected by conventional dipstick testing and is present in 20% of patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Mortality in NIDDM patients with microalbuminuria is 60% at 8 years and is mainly due to cardiovascular disease. Because many deaths occur without warning symptoms, we have compared the prevalence and severity of silent myocardial ischemia in asymptomatic NIDDM patients with and without microalbuminuria. We have performed a cross-sectional, case-control study of asymptomatic NIDDM patients attending hospital diabetes clinics. Forty-three patients with microalbuminuria were matched for age, gender, diabetes duration, and smoking status with 43 normoalbuminuric patients. A symptom-limited exercise stress test was performed and reported blind to patient status. The degree of electrocardiographic ST-segment depression, exercise time, work performed, and maximum heart rate with exercise were recorded. Patients with microalbuminuria had a higher prevalence of ischemic response (>1 mm ST depression) (65% vs 40%, p = 0.016), reduced total exercise time (5 vs 7 minutes, p <0.001), reduced work (6 vs 8 METs, p <0.001), and reduced age-predicted maximum heart rate (94% vs 101%, p = 0.004). In multiple logistic regression, albumin excretion rate was shown to be the strongest independent predictor of ischemic response (p = 0.03). Silent myocardial ischemia is common in asymptomatic NIDDM patients but is more common in those with microalbuminuria. In these subjects, the higher prevalence of ischemic response at low workloads suggests a higher probability of future coronary events, and possibly a higher probability of potentially treatable coronary artery disease.

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