Low Blood Flow Estimates in Lower-Leg Arteries Predict Cardiovascular Events in Japanese Patients With Type 2 Diabetes With Normal Ankle-Brachial Indexes

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To examine the association of baseline measures in lower-leg arteries and conventional cardiovascular risk factors with the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in type 2 diabetic patients with normal ankle-brachial indexes (ABIs) (>0.9).


We studied 129 type 2 diabetic patients and 35 age-matched nondiabetic subjects with no apparent CVD consecutively admitted to our hospital. At baseline, total flow volume and resistive index, as an index of vascular resistance, at the popliteal artery was evaluated using gated two-dimensional cine-mode phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging. Patients were followed 4.8 ± 1.5 years (range 3.0–8.2) or until their first event of CVD.


On follow-up, 16 patients developed primary CVD events. Patients with CVD had lower blood flow (P < 0.01) and higher vascular resistance (P < 0.05) than patients without CVD. When the patients were grouped into tertiles according to their levels of total flow volume (129.6–85.5, 85.3–63.3, and 62.7–23.8 ml/min), Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a higher probability of developing CVD events in patients in the lowest than in patients in the highest (P = 0.0199, log-rank test) tertile. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis revealed that the lowest tertile for flow volume (hazard ratio [HR] 8.60, 95% CI 1.61–45.97, P = 0.012), hypertension (3.99, 1.12–14.25, P = 0.033), and smoking status (12.01, 1.21–119.28, P = 0.034) were significant independent predictors of CVD events.


We have demonstrated that low blood flow estimates in lower-leg arteries may be predictive for CVD events among Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes even though they have a normal ABI.

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