BACKGROUND - Many studies evaluated the best predictors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D), but few studies examined the factors most strongly associated with mortality in T2D. The Diabetes Heart Study (DHS), an intensively phenotyped family-based cohort enriched for T2D, provided an opportunity to address this question.
METHODS - Associations with mortality were examined in 1022 European Americans affected by T2D from 476 DHS families. All-cause mortality was 31.2 % over an average 9.6 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models with sandwich-based variance estimation were used to evaluate associations between all-cause and CVD mortality and 24 demographic and clinical factors, including coronary artery calcified plaque (CAC), carotid artery intima-media thickness, medications, body mass index, waist hip ratio, lipids, blood pressure, kidney function, QT interval, educational attainment, and glycemic control. Nominally significant factors (p < 0.25) from univariate analyses were included in model selection (backward elimination, forward selection, and stepwise selection). Age and sex were included in all models.
RESULTS - The all-cause mortality model selected from the full DHS sample included age, sex, CAC, urine albumin: creatinine ratio (UACR), insulin use, current smoking, and educational attainment. The CVD mortality model selected from the full sample included age, sex, CAC, UACR, triglycerides, and history of CVD events. Beyond age, the most significant associations for both mortality models were CAC (2.03 × 10(-4) ≤ p ≤ 0.001) and UACR (1.99 × 10(-8) ≤ p ≤ 2.23 × 10(-8)). To confirm the validity of the main predictors identified with model selection using the full sample, a two-fold cross-validation approach was used, and similar results were observed.
CONCLUSIONS - This analysis highlights important demographic and clinical factors, notably CAC and albuminuria, which predict mortality in the general population of patients with T2D.