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Diabetologia. 2008 Dec;51(12):2197-204. doi: 10.1007/s00125-008-1164-z. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

HbA 1c as a risk factor for heart failure in persons with diabetes: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

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Medical School of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Heart failure (HF) incidence in diabetes in both the presence and absence of CHD is rising. Prospective population-based studies can help describe the relationship between HbA(1c), a measure of glycaemia control, and HF risk.


We studied the incidence of HF hospitalisation or death among 1,827 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study with diabetes and no evidence of HF at baseline. Cox proportional hazard models included age, sex, race, education, health insurance status, alcohol consumption, BMI and WHR, and major CHD risk factors (BP level and medications, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol levels, and smoking).


In this population of persons with diabetes, crude HF incidence rates per 1,000 person-years were lower in the absence of CHD (incidence rate 15.5 for CHD-negative vs 56.4 for CHD-positive, p<0.001). The adjusted HR of HF for each 1% higher HbA(1c) was 1.17 (95% CI 1.11-1.25) for the non-CHD group and 1.20 (95% CI 1.04-1.40) for the CHD group. When the analysis was limited to HF cases which occurred in the absence of prevalent or incident CHD (during follow-up) the adjusted HR remained 1.20 (95% CI 1.11-1.29).


These data suggest HbA(1c) is an independent risk factor for incident HF in persons with diabetes with and without CHD. Long-term clinical trials of tight glycaemic control should quantify the impact of different treatment regimens on HF risk reduction.

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