High burden of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes

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The purposes of this study were to compare the presence, extent and composition of coronary plaques in asymptomatic patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes to age- and sex-matched controls.


Patients with newly diagnosed (<1 year) type 2 diabetes (n = 44) and controls (n = 44) underwent contrast-enhanced coronary computed tomography angiography. Advanced plaque analysis including total plaque volume and volumes of plaque components (calcified plaque and non-calcified plaque, including low-attenuation [low-density non-calcified plaque]) was performed using validated semi-automated software.


Coronary artery calcification was more often seen in patients with type 2 diabetes (66%) versus controls (48%), p < 0.05. Both the absolute volume (median; interquartile range) of low-density non-calcified plaque (7.9 mm3; 0–50.5 mm3 vs 0; 0–34.3 mm3, p < 0.05) and the increase in low-density non-calcified plaque ratio in relation to total plaque volume (τ = 0.5, p < 0.001) were significantly higher in patients with type 2 diabetes. More patients with type 2 diabetes had spotty calcification (31% vs 0%, p < 0.05). By multivariate analysis, the presence of any low-density non-calcified plaque was higher in males (odds ratio: 4.06, p < 0.05), who also demonstrated a larger low-density non-calcified plaque volume (p < 0.001). The presence and extent of low-density non-calcified plaque increased with age, smoking, hypertension and hyperglycaemia, all p < 0.05.


Asymptomatic patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes had plaque features associated with increased vulnerability as compared with age- and sex-matched controls.

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