(HealthDay News) – Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) predicts cardiac and cerebrovascular disease burden in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), according to a study published online Sept. 10 in Radiology.

Fabian Bamberg, MD, MPH, from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, and colleagues evaluated 61 patients (median age, 67.5 years; 30 women) with DM (types 1 and 2), including a follow-up phone interview (median follow-up, 70 months). Patients underwent a comprehensive, contrast-enhanced whole-body MRI protocol, including brain, cardiac, and vascular sequences at baseline, which were evaluated for the presence of systemic atherosclerotic vessel changes, white matter lesions, and myocardial changes. A major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular event (MACCE) was the primary end point.

The researchers found that 14 of the 61 patients experienced MACCE. Two-thirds of patients had any detectable ischemic and/or atherosclerotic changes at whole-body MRI, which conferred a cumulative event rate of 20% at three years and 35% at six years. The absence of pathologic findings on imaging was associated with a zero event probability. A summary estimate of disease using whole-body MRI was strongly predictive for MACCE (one increment of vessel score hazard ratio, 13.2; each territory with atherosclerotic changes hazard ratio, 3.9), beyond clinical characteristics as well as individual cardiac or cerebrovascular MRI findings.

“These initial data indicate that disease burden as assessed with whole-body MRI confers strong prognostic information in patients with DM,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Bayer Healthcare and/or Siemens Healthcare.

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