Prevalence and risk factors accounting for true silent myocardial ischemia: a pilot case-control study comparing type 2 diabetic with non-diabetic control subjects

Author(s): Hernández C, Candell-Riera J, Ciudin A, Francisco G, Aguadé-Bruix S, et al.


Background: Given the elevated risk of cardiovascular events and the higher prevalence of silent coronary artery disease (CAD) in diabetic versus non-diabetic patients, the need to screen asymptomatic diabetic patients for CAD assumes increasing importance. The aims of the study were to assess prospectively the prevalence and risk factor predictors of true silent myocardial ischemia (myocardial perfusion defects in the absence of both angina and ST-segment depression) in asymptomatic type 2 diabetic patients.

Methods: Stress myocardial perfusion gated SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) was carried out in 41 type 2 diabetic patients without history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 41 nondiabetic patients matched by age and gender.

Results: There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding either the classic CVD risk factors or left ventricular function. True silent ischemia was detected in 21.9% of diabetic patients but only in 2.4% of controls (p < 0.01). The presence of myocardial perfusion defects was independently associated with male gender and the presence of diabetic retinopathy (DR). The probability of having myocardial perfusion defects in an asymptomatic diabetic patient with DR in comparison with diabetic patients without DR was 11.7 [IC95%: 3.7-37].

Conclusions: True silent myocardial ischemia is a high prevalent condition in asymptomatic type 2 diabetic patients. Male gender and the presence of DR are the risk factors related to its development.

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