• By Terri Malloy

Diabetes can independently lead to heart failure, population study shows

January 2, 2020
blood drop examination tool kit, blood sugar tracker record and heart with doctor's stethoscope

ROCHESTER, Minn. ― Heart problems are a common development for people with diabetes. In fact, about 33% of people in the U.S. admitted to the hospital for heart failure also have diabetes. Heart failure may be the result of a co-condition, such as hypertension or coronary heart disease, but not always.

A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Diabetes Mellitus Is an Independent Predictor for the Development of Heart Failure: A Population Study, examines the idea of diabetic cardiomyopathy and heart failure from the effects of diabetes alone.

Utilizing the Rochester Epidemiology Project, researchers evaluated the long-term impact of diabetes on the development of heart failure, both with preserved ejection fraction ― a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving the heart with each contraction ― and reduced ejection fraction. They also looked at mortality in a community population, controlling for hypertension, coronary artery disease and diastolic function. Horng Chen, M.D., cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is senior author of the study.

From an initial group of 2,042 residents of Olmsted County, 116 study participants with diabetes were matched 1:2 for age, hypertension, sex, coronary artery disease and diastolic dysfunction to 232 participants without diabetes. Over the 10-year follow-up period, 21% of participants with diabetes developed heart failure, independent of other causes. In comparison, only 12% of patients without diabetes developed heart failure. Cardiac death, heart attack and stroke were not statistically different in the study between the two groups.

The study shows that diabetes is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure in the community dwelling population. Furthermore, the outcome data support the concept of a diabetic cardiomyopathy.

This research extends previous findings and demonstrates that even without a known cardiac structural abnormality and with a normal ejection fraction, diabetic patients are still at increased risk of developing heart failure as compared to their nondiabetic counterparts.

"The key takeaway is that diabetes mellitus alone is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure," says Dr. Chen. "Our hope is that this study provides a strong foundation for further investigations into diabetes and heart failure. There is still much to learn and study in terms of this association and how to best diagnose and treat this condition."

Michael Klajda, M.D., is first author on the study. Other researchers include Christopher Scott and Richard Rodeheffer, M.D. ― all of Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

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About Mayo Clinic Proceedings
Mayo Clinic Proceedings is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal that publishes original articles and reviews dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical research, basic science research, and clinical epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is sponsored by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to physician education. It publishes submissions from authors worldwide. The journal has been published for more than 90 years and has a circulation of 127,000.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and An Inside Look at Mayo Clinic for more information about Mayo.

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