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1.  Cardiac implications of hypoglycaemia in patients with diabetes – a systematic review 
Hypoglycaemia has been associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) risk and mortality in a number of recent multicentre trials, but the mechanistic links driving this association remain ill defined. This review aims to summarize the available data on how hypoglycaemia may affect CV risk in patients with diabetes.
This was a systematic review of available mechanistic and clinical studies on the relationship between hypoglycaemia and cardiovascular risk. Study outcomes were compiled from relevant articles, and factors contributing to hypoglycaemia-mediated CVD and its complications are discussed.
Six recent comprehensive clinical trials have reinforced the critical importance of understanding the link between hypoglycaemia and the CV system. In addition, 88 studies have indicated that hypoglycaemia mechanistically contributes to CV risk by increasing thrombotic tendency, causing abnormal cardiac repolarization, inducing inflammation, and contributing to the development of atherosclerosis. These hypoglycaemia-associated risk factors are conducive to events such as unstable angina, non-fatal and fatal myocardial infarction, sudden death, and stroke in patients with diabetes.
Emerging data suggest that there is an impact of hypoglycaemia on CV function and mechanistic link is multifactorial. Further research will be needed to ascertain the full impact of hypoglycaemia on the CV system and its complications.
PMCID: PMC3849493  PMID: 24053606
Hypoglycaemia; Cardiovascular risk; Arrhythmia; Continuous glucose monitoring; Randomized controlled trials
2.  The role of co-morbidity in the selection of antidiabetic pharmacotherapy in type-2 diabetes 
Metformin is, if not contraindicated and if tolerated, usually preferred over other antidiabetic drugs for the first line treatment of type-2 diabetes. The particular decision on which antidiabetic agent to use is based on variables such as efficacy, cost, potential side effects, effects on weight, comorbidities, hypoglycemia, risk, and patient preferences. However, there is no guidance how to consider these in the selection of antidiabetic drug treatment. In this work, we aimed to summarize available evidence and tried to give pragmatic treatment recommendations from a clinical practice perspective.
There are clear contraindications for some drugs in those with impaired renal and liver function and precautions in those with heart failure for the use of metformin (NYHA III-IV) and glitazones. On the other hand, GLP-1 analogs, DPP-4 inhibitors and acarbose are generally less critical and can be used in the majority of patients. We identified the following gaps with respect to the selection of antidiabetic drug treatment in patients with co-morbid disease conditions: 1) Guidelines fail to give advice on the use of specific antidiabetic drugs in patients with co-morbidity. 2) The literature is deficient in studies documenting antidiabetic drug use in patients with severely impaired renal function, diabetic retinopathy, cerebrovascular disease and systolic heart failure. 3) Further there are no specific data on patients with multiple of these co-morbid disease conditions. We postulate that differential use of antidiabetic drugs in patients with co-morbid disease constellations will help to reduce treatment related complications and might improve prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3664601  PMID: 23574917
3.  Structured health care for subjects with diabetic foot ulcers results in a reduction of major amputation rates 
We tested the effects of structured health care for the diabetic foot in one region in Germany aiming to reduce the number of major amputations.
Research design and methods
In a prospective study we investigated patients with diabetic foot in a structured system of outpatient, in-patient and rehabilitative treatment. Subjects were recruited between January 1st, 2000 and December 31, 2007. All participants underwent a two-year follow-up. The modified University of Texas Wound Classification System (UT) was the basis for documentation and data analysis. We evaluated numbers of major amputations, rates of ulcer healing and mortality. In order to compare the effect of the structured health care program with usual care in patients with diabetic foot we evaluated the same parameters at another regional hospital without interdisciplinary care of diabetic foot (controls).
684 patients with diabetic foot and 508 controls were investigated. At discharge from hospital 28.3% (structured health care program, SHC) vs. 23.0% (controls) of all ulcers had healed completely. 51.5% (SHC) vs. 49.8% (controls) were in UT grade 1.
Major amputations were performed in 32 subjects of the structured health care program group (4.7%) vs. 110 (21.7%) in controls (p<0.0001). Mortality during hospitalization was 2.5% (SHC) vs. 9.4% in controls (p<0.001).
With the structured health care program we achieved a significant reduction of major amputation rates by more than 75% as compared to standard care.
PMCID: PMC3627905  PMID: 23497152
4.  Double-blind, randomized, multicentre, and active comparator controlled investigation of the effect of Pioglitazone, Metformin, and the combination of both on cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes receiving stable basal insulin therapy: the PIOCOMB study 
We analyzed specific effects of an add-on therapy with pioglitazone compared to metformin and their combination in patients with basal insulin treatment on biomarkers of CV risk.
In this double-blind, randomized, multicentre, active comparator controlled trial, 121 patients with type 2 diabetes were enrolled. Inclusions: treatment with basal insulin, HbA1C 6.5% - 8.5%, age 30 - 75 years. After glargine therapy over 2 weeks for titration towards FBG ≤ 7.8 mmol/L, patients received either (A) bid 850 mg metformin (n = 42), (B) bid 15 mg pioglitazone (n = 40), or (C) 30 mg pioglitazone plus 1.7 g metformin (n = 39) over 6 months. Matrix Metal Proteinase 9 (MMP-9) was primary objective, together with biomarkers of CV risk.
Pioglitazone (B) reduced MMP-9 versus baseline by 54.1 + 187.1 ng/mL, with metformin (A) it was increased by 49.6 + 336.2 ng/mL (p = 0.0345; B vs. A), and with the combination of both (C) it was decreased by 67.8 + 231.4 ng/mL (A vs. C: p = 0.0416; B vs. C: p = 0.8695). After logarithmic transformation due to high variances the exploratory results showed significance for A vs. B (p = 0.0043) and for A vs. C (p = 0.0289).
Insulin dosage was reduced by 7.3 units in group B (p < 0.0001), by 6.0 units in C (p = 0.0004), but was increased by 2.5 units (p = 0.1539) in A at follow up. Reduction in hs-CRP was significant within treatment groups for B (p = 0.0098) and C (p < 0.0001), and between the groups for A vs. C (p = 0.0124). All three single regimens reduced PAI-1. Adiponectin was significantly elevated in B and C (p < 0.0001) and between-groups. HbA1C was only significantly decreased in the combination group. No significant effects were observed for NFkB and PGFα. peripheral edema were seen in 11.9% vs. 40.0% vs. 20.5%, and weight change was -0.7 kg vs. +4.3 kg vs. +2.7 kg (A vs. B vs. C).
Addition of pioglitazone but not of metformin reduces MMP-9, hs-CRP and increased insulin sensitivity and adiponectin in this study. The combination of both had no additional effect on inflammation. Pioglitazone is suggested to be a rational add-on therapy to basal insulin in patients with high CV risk.
PMCID: PMC3160877  PMID: 21756323
5.  Effect of the addition of rosiglitazone to metformin or sulfonylureas versus metformin/sulfonylurea combination therapy on ambulatory blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled trial (the RECORD study) 
Hypertension and type 2 diabetes are common co-morbidities. Preliminary studies suggest that thiazolidinediones reduce blood pressure (BP). We therefore used ambulatory BP to quantify BP lowering at 6–12 months with rosiglitazone used in combination with metformin or sulfonylureas compared to metformin and sulfonylureas in people with type 2 diabetes.
Participants (n = 759) in the multicentre RECORD study were studied. Those taking metformin were randomized (open label) to add-on rosiglitazone or sulfonylureas, and those on sulfonylurea to add-on rosiglitazone or metformin.
24-Hour ambulatory BP was measured at baseline, 6 months and 12 months. At 6 and 12 months, reductions in 24-hour ambulatory systolic BP (sBP) were greater with rosiglitazone versus metformin (difference at 6 months 2.7 [95% CI 0.5–4.9] mmHg, p = 0.015; 12 months 2.5 [95% CI 0.2–4.8] mmHg, p = 0.031). Corresponding changes for ambulatory diastolic BP (dBP) were comparable (6 months 2.7 [95% CI 1.4–4.0] mmHg, p < 0.001; 12 months 3.1 [95% CI 1.8–4.5] mmHg, p < 0.001). Similar differences were observed for rosiglitazone versus sulfonylureas at 12 months (sBP 2.7 [95% CI 0.5–4.9] mmHg, p = 0.016; dBP 2.1 [95% CI 0.7–3.4] mmHg, p = 0.003), but differences were smaller and/or not statistically significant at 6 months (sBP 1.5 [95% CI -0.6 to 3.6] mmHg, p = NS; dBP 1.3 [95% CI 0.0–2.5] mmHg, p = 0.049). Changes in BP were not accompanied by compensatory increases in heart rate, did not correlate with basal insulin sensitivity estimates and were not explained by changes in antihypertensive therapy between the various strata.
When added to metformin or a sulfonylurea, 12-month treatment with rosiglitazone reduces ambulatory BP to a greater extent than when metformin and a sulfonylurea are combined.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC2390513  PMID: 18435852
6.  Cardiovascular benefits and safety profile of acarbose therapy in prediabetes and established type 2 diabetes 
Dysglycaemic disease is one of the most important health issues facing the world in the 21st century. Patients with type 2 diabetes and individuals with prediabetes are at risk of developing macrovascular and microvascular complications. Long-term management strategies are therefore required that are effective at controlling dysglycaemia, well tolerated and, ideally, offer additional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk-reduction benefits. The efficacy, safety and tolerability of the α-glucosidase inhibitor acarbose have been well-established in a wide range of patient populations in both clinical and community trials. In addition, acarbose has been shown to reduce cardiovascular complications in type 2 diabetes and prevent hypertension and CVD in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Acarbose has a very good safety profile and, owing to its straightforward, non-systemic mode of action, avoids most adverse events. The most common side-effects of acarbose are mild-to-moderate gastrointestinal complaints that subside as treatment continues. They can be minimised through the use of an appropriate stepwise dosing regimen and careful choice of diet. Acarbose is therefore a valuable option for the management of type 2 diabetes and, as the only oral antidiabetes agent approved for the treatment of prediabetes, can help to improve clinical management across the dysglycaemic disease continuum.
PMCID: PMC2040135  PMID: 17697384
7.  Impact of the individual components of the metabolic syndrome and their different combinations on the prevalence of atherosclerotic vascular disease in type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes in Germany (DIG) study 
One of the major controversies surrounding the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in type 2 diabetes is whether its single components act synergistically as risk factors for atherosclerotic vascular disease (AVD). We aimed to answer this by evaluating the relationship, and its various combinations to AVD in comparison to single traits in a population-based study with type 2 diabetes in Germany.
Methods and results
4020 unselected patients with type 2 diabetes aged 35 – 80 years. MetS was: diabetes plus ≥ 2 traits of the MetS by AHA/NHBLI definition.
AVD was: history of myocardial infarction and/or coronary revascularization and/or stroke. The occurrence of AVD in relation to overall MetS/single traits/combinations was presented as OR (95% CI). Multiple logistic regression, including established cardiovascular risk factors, modeled their associations.
The prevalence of overall MetS was 74.4% and the OR for AVD was 1.41 (1.12–1.78), which however was higher for hypertension as single trait (OR 4.76). Different combinations of MetS presented a wide range of ORs (0.47 to 10.90) and strong sex differences. Some clusters of MetS including hypertension and low HDL-cholesterol presented a higher risk factor than single traits or their sum, whereas the others out of 11 possible carried no increased AVD risk. Multiple logistic regression showed independent association between AVD and overall MetS.
The overall MetS in type 2 diabetes comprises 11 heterogenous clusters of traits. Overall MetS increases the risk of AVD in type 2 diabetes and individual traits in some clusters with hypertension and low HDL-cholesterol may act synergistically as risk factors particularly in women.
PMCID: PMC1871572  PMID: 17462080

Results 1-7 (7)