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Diabetes Care. 1990 Nov;13(11):1169-79.

Diabetic cardiomyopathy.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.


The purpose of this article was to review the clinical and experimental features of diabetic cardiomyopathy, with particular relevance to the Black population. One hundred thirty-seven studies were identified, of which 57 were selected as references for this article. Diabetes is associated with the development of cardiomyopathy, independent of coronary atherosclerosis. Pathological studies show myocardial hypertrophy and fibrosis; microvascular pathology is also present, but all of these pathological findings have an uncertain relationship to myocardial failure. Hemodynamic findings of both congestive and restrictive cardiomyopathy have been described. Noninvasive studies revealed abnormal systolic and diastolic function in many diabetic subjects, particularly in the presence of diabetic complications and/or hypertension. Experimental studies have focused on the mildly diabetic dog and the severely diabetic rat. One year of diabetes in dogs resulted in decreased left ventricular compliance and increased interstitial connective tissue. Studies in the diabetic rat showed a marked slowing of contraction and relaxation. Chronic insulin therapy reversed the changes in the rat model. Combining hypertension with diabetes in the rat resulted in increased myocardial and coronary microvascular pathology and greater changes in isolated muscle function, electrophysiology, and contractile protein biochemistry. Many hypertensive diabetic rats died spontaneously, showing signs of congestive heart failure. Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a significant cause of heart failure in diabetic subjects and occurs more frequently in those with microvascular complications and/or hypertension. Clinical studies are needed to clarify the natural history of this disorder, focusing on the benefits of tight control of hyperglycemia and treatment of associated hypertension. Experimental studies will clarify the pathophysiology and contribute to improved therapy. The high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in Blacks makes these considerations especially relevant to this population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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