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Atherosclerosis. 2008 Jun;198(2):396-402. Epub 2008 Feb 21.

The clinical reality of guidelines for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes in Italy.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Federico II University, Naples, Italy.



Guidelines for cardiovascular prevention in diabetes have been issued by the national and international scientific societies. No audit as ever been performed to evaluate the implementation of these documents in clinical practice in Italy. The study evaluates the prevalence, treatment, and control of major cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetic patients, to assess the clinical practice of primary cardiovascular prevention in type 2 diabetes.


Two thousand four hundred and sixty-five men and women with type 2 diabetes, aged 50-75 and free of cardiovascular events were recruited on a consecutive basis at 10 hospital based outpatients diabetes clinics. Clinical variables were measured by standard protocol. Biochemical parameters were evaluated at each centre. The laboratories were monitored by an external quality control assessment in order to reach and maintain a standard of quality and traceability among the participating centres.


A minority of patients (5%) met the recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, glycated haemoglobin and smoking habits, whereas the vast majority (66%) had unsatisfactory control of three or more of the above. Achievement of desirable control of risk factors differed according to gender and known diabetes duration. Lipid lowering and, to a lesser extent, antihypertensive medications were under-used and their titration insufficiently target-driven. Prophylactic use of antiplatelet agents was scarce, only one out of five patients was treated independent of absolute cardiovascular risk.


In clinical practice there is poor adherence to national and international guidelines for primary cardiovascular prevention in type 2 diabetes in Italy. The study underlines the great potential for prevention, particularly in women and in high-risk patients.

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