The GERODIAB study is a multicenter prospective observational study performed over 5 years in French patients aged 70 years or above with type 2 diabetes. This report deals with their cardiovascular complications and their relationship with survival.
Consecutive patients (n = 987, median age = 77 years) were included from 56 diabetes centers over 1 year. Individual characteristics, history and complications of diabetes, geriatric factors, and clinical and biological parameters were recorded. Survival was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and proportional hazards regression models.
The frequency of cardiovascular complications increased from 47% at inclusion to 67% at 5 years. The most frequent complications were coronary heart disease (increasing from 30% to 41%) and vascular disease of the lower limbs (25% to 35%) and of the cerebral vessels (15% to 26%). Heart failure was less common, but its frequency doubled during the follow-up (9% to 20%). It was strongly associated with poor survival (P < 0.0001), as was vascular disease of the lower limbs (P = 0.0004), whereas coronary heart disease (P = 0.0056) and vascular disease of cerebral vessels (P = 0.026) had mild associations. Amputation (P < 0.0001) and foot wounds (P < 0.0001) were strongly associated with survival. In multivariate models, heart failure was the strongest predictor of poor survival (hazard ratio [HR] 1.96 [95% CI 1.45–2.64]; P < 0.0001). It remained significant when other factors were considered simultaneously (HR 1.92 [95% CI 1.43–2.58]; P < 0.0001).
Cardiovascular complications are associated with poor survival in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes, especially heart failure.