Subclinical macroangiopathic target organ damage in type 1 diabetes mellitus patients

Magdalena Błaszkowska, Anna Shalimova, Bogumił Wolnik, Elżbieta Orłowska-Kunikowska, Beata Graff, Michał Hoffmann, Peter Nilsson, Jacek Wolf, Krzysztof Narkiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: We have summarized key studies regarding the assessment of subclinical macroangiopathic target organ damage (TOD) in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Results: Although chronic complications resulting from hyperglycemia, in particular macroangiopathies, are still the first cause of death in T1DM, there has been growing recognition of the role of hypoglycemia in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Subclinical TOD diagnosis ensures early implementation of the complex management aiming at either partial reversal of these complications or at least its downturn. To better identify patients with early TODs, several non-invasive diagnostic techniques are employed, including the ultrasonographic assessment of the intima-media thickness (IMT), computed tomography (CT) for coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores, and pulse wave velocity (PWV) measurement for arterial stiffness evaluation. Various studies reported that T1DM patients present an increased IMT. An increasing IMT fairly correlates with the cardiovascular (CV) events risk even after the adjustment to age, diabetes duration, quality of glucose control as well as the presence of hypertension, and chronic complications. Another, well established marker of the organ damage–CAC score is recommended by ACC/AHA guidelines to assess the overall CV risk in T1DM. Also, the arterial stiffness evaluation with PWV may further improve CV risk prediction, which has been reported in multiple studies including the Framingham Heart Study. Conclusions: There is shortage of data from prospective studies which could confirm the benefits of early treatment initiation based on the presence of the subclinical organ damage in T1DM. Most evidence comes from T2DM trials, where effective preventive measures were identified i.e.: smoking cessation, reasonable blood glucose control, efficacious hypertension treatment, and dyslipidemia management, as well as renoprotection. There is still a field for further research to see if routine assessment of asymptomatic vascular damage and early implementation of aggressive treatment would reduce mortality excess from CVD in T1DM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-356
Number of pages13
JournalBlood Pressure
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Hematology

Free keywords

  • arterial stiffness
  • cardiovascular risk
  • coronary artery calcification
  • intima-media thickness
  • subclinical macroangiopathy
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus


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