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27-07-2010 | Cardiology | Article

Women with diabetes in pregnancy have increased arterial stiffness


Free abstract

MedWire News: Women who have gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) or Type 2 diabetes in pregnancy have increased arterial stiffness compared with nondiabetic pregnant women, say researchers.

Diabetes is known to be associated with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and related events, and one mechanism for this could be increased arterial stiffness, they add.

GDM and Type 2 diabetes in pregnancy are becoming increasingly common, but little is known about the degree of CVD risk experienced by women with these conditions.

Makrina Savvidou (Imperial College London, UK) and colleagues investigated the degree of arterial stiffness in 34 GDM, 34 Type 2 diabetic, and 68 nondiabetic pregnant women (an equal number of controls for each type of diabetes).

Arterial stiffness was assessed by measuring the augmentation index (measure of arterial wave reflection) and pulse wave velocity (PWV) of the women, using applanation tonometry.

Compared with controls, women with GDM had a significantly higher augmentation index (13.1 vs 0.7) and PWV (6.0 vs 5.4 m/s).

Similarly, women with Type 2 diabetes had a higher augmentation index (11.5 vs 3.3) and PWV (6.8 vs 5.6 m/s) compared with their matched controls.

"The mechanisms underlying the increased maternal arterial stiffness in women with GDM and Type 2 diabetes could be complex," write the researchers in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"These may include calcifications, alterations in extracellular matrix composition, and arterial remodeling due to hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, oxidative stress, chronic low-grade inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and advanced glycation end products."

They say that the results of this study "may prove useful in the early prediction of GDM and diabetes-related gestational hypertension," but add that "further research will be required to address this issue."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Helen Albert

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