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25-02-2010 | Diabetes | Article

Diabetics have more vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque than nondiabetics


Free abstract

MedWire News: Study results show that patients with atherosclerosis and diabetes have a larger proportion of intravascular ultrasound-derived thin cap fibroatheroma (ID-TCFA), which is more vulnerable to rupture, than atherosclerotic individuals without diabetes.

Diabetics are thought to have increased vascular morbidity and risk for myocardial infarction compared with nondiabetics, but the nature of this increased risk is not completely understood.

Steven Marso (University of Missouri, Kansas City, USA) and colleagues compared intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) measures of coronary atherosclerosis in 191 Type 2 diabetics and 584 nondiabetics with the condition.

The participants were enrolled in the Virtual Histology IVUS Global Registry during 2004–2006 and were aged 62.3 years on average. The investigators focused on the most diseased 10-mm segment of a single coronary artery for each patient for imaging purposes.

The team found that diabetics had a greater total plaque volume than nondiabetics at 94.8 versus 88.1 mm3, but the difference was only of borderline statistical significance.

Diabetic individuals did, however, have a significantly greater proportion of ID-TCFA than nondiabetics, at 21.6% versus 13.6%.

The researchers caution that only one vessel was imaged per patient and therefore they “cannot exclude the presence of important sampling bias.”

Marso and co-authors conclude in the journal Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research: “Diabetic patients did not have [significantly] greater plaque volume but did have a significantly greater proportion of plaque classified as ID-TCFA in the most diseased 10 mm segment compared with non-diabetic patients.”

They say: “This observation in living patients is novel and may provide insight into the increased risk for complications of atherosclerosis among persons with diabetes mellitus.”

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