(HealthDay News) – Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) appears to affect the risk of cardiovascular disease even in type 1 diabetes patients with normal albumin excretion rates.

Noting that CAN is present in about a quarter of patients with type 1 diabetes, Ulrik Madvig Mogensen, MD, from the University Hospital of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues measured coronary artery plaque burden, coronary artery calcium, left ventricular function, and blood pressure and pulse pressure over a 24-hour period in 56 normoalbuminuric type 1 diabetes patients, 26 of whom had CAN.

The researchers found that, compared with patients without CAN, patients with CAN had higher coronary artery calcium scores. For patients with CAN, a nonsignificant trend was noted toward higher prevalence of coronary plaques and flow-limiting stenosis. After controlling for various factors, there was an independent association between CAN and higher coronary artery calcium scores, subtle impairment of left ventricular systolic and diastolic function, and higher pulse pressure.

“In conclusion, CAN in normoalbuminuric type 1 diabetic patients is associated with distinct signs of subclinical cardiovascular disease,” Mogensen and colleagues conclude.

One author was supported by a scholarship from Novo Nordisk.

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