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Diabetes Care. 2012 Feb;35(2):389-95. doi: 10.2337/dc11-1820. Epub 2011 Dec 30.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is associated with left ventricular diastolic dysfunction in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Sacro Cuore Hospital, Negrar, Italy.



Data on cardiac function in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are limited and conflicting. We assessed whether NAFLD is associated with abnormalities in cardiac function in patients with type 2 diabetes.


We studied 50 consecutive type 2 diabetic individuals without a history of ischemic heart disease, hepatic diseases, or excessive alcohol consumption, in whom NAFLD was diagnosed by ultrasonography. A tissue Doppler echocardiography with myocardial strain measurement was performed in all patients.


Thirty-two patients (64%) had NAFLD, and when compared with the other 18 patients, age, sex, BMI, waist circumference, hypertension, smoking, diabetes duration, microvascular complication status, and medication use were not significantly different. In addition, the left ventricular (LV) mass and volumes, ejection fraction, systemic vascular resistance, arterial elasticity, and compliance were also not different. NAFLD patients had lower e' (8.2 ± 1.5 vs. 9.9 ± 1.9 cm/s, P < 0.005) tissue velocity, higher E-to-e' ratio (7.90 ± 1.3 vs. 5.59 ± 1.1, P < 0.0001), a higher time constant of isovolumic relaxation (43.1 ± 10.1 vs. 33.2 ± 12.9 ms, P < 0.01), higher LV-end diastolic pressure (EDP) (16.5 ± 1.1 vs. 15.1 ± 1.0 mmHg, P < 0.0001), and higher LV EDP/end diastolic volume (0.20 ± 0.03 vs. 0.18 ± 0.02 mmHg, P < 0.05) than those without steatosis. Among the measurements of LV global longitudinal strain and strain rate, those with NAFLD also had higher E/global longitudinal diastolic strain rate during the early phase of diastole (E/SR(E)). All of these differences remained significant after adjustment for hypertension and other cardiometabolic risk factors.


Our data show that in patients with type 2 diabetes and NAFLD, even if the LV morphology and systolic function are preserved, early features of LV diastolic dysfunction may be detected.

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