Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular events. Unfortunately traditional risk assessment scores, including the Framingham Risk Score (FRS), have only modest accuracy in cardiovascular risk prediction in these patients.
We sought to determine the prognostic values of different non-invasive markers of atherosclerosis, including brachial artery endothelial function, carotid artery atheroma burden, ankle-brachial index, arterial stiffness and computed tomography coronary artery calcium score (CACS) in 151 T2DM Chinese patients that were identified low-intermediate risk from the FRS recalibrated for Chinese (<20% risk in 10 years). Patients were prospectively followed-up and presence of atherosclerotic events documented for a mean duration of 61 ± 16 months.
A total of 17 atherosclerotic events in 16 patients (11%) occurred during the follow-up period. The mean FRS of the study population was 5.0 ± 4.6% and area under curve (AUC) from receiver operating characteristic curve analysis for prediction of atherosclerotic events was 0.59 ± 0.07 (P = 0.21). Among different vascular assessments, CACS > 40 had the best prognostic value (AUC 0.81 ± 0.06, P < 0.01) and offered significantly better accuracy in prediction compared with FRS (P = 0.038 for AUC comparisons). Combination of FRS with CACS or other surrogate vascular markers did not further improve the prognostic values over CACS alone. Multivariate Cox regression analysis identified CACS > 40 as an independent predictor of atherosclerotic events in T2DM patients (Hazards Ratio 27.11, 95% Confidence Interval 3.36-218.81, P = 0.002).
In T2DM patients identified as low-intermediate risk by the FRS, a raised CACS > 40 was an independent predictor for atherosclerotic events.