Coronary plaque buildup may progress more quickly in patients with diabetes compared with those without diabetes, according to research results published in Clinical Cardiology and presented at the 3rd Annual Heart in Diabetes Conference, held July 12 to 14, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Knowing that diabetes is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, researchers from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center used coronary computed tomography angiography to determine whether the rate of coronary plaque progression differs in people with vs without diabetes.

Patients with diabetes (n=165; 109 men) were matched to those without diabetes (n=260; 168 men) for age, sex, dyslipidemia, smoking status, chest pain, and other baseline characteristics, as well as time between baseline and follow-up studies. Researchers measured plaque volume normalized by total coronary artery length using plaque analysis software.

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Multiple regression analysis showed that compared with patients without diabetes, those with diabetes had greater annual progression of normalized total plaque volume (P =.03) and noncalcified plaque (P =.028), specifically fibro-fatty plaque (P =.023) and low-attenuation plaque (P =.022). Progression rates were not significantly different between the groups for fibrous or calcified plaque.

“Our study indicates that diabetes is independently associated with greater plaque progression and hence, the greater need for compliance with optimal current guideline based preventive therapy in persons with [diabetes],” wrote the researchers.


Shekar C, Li D, Kinninger A, et al. Coronary plaque progression in patients with diabetes mellitus. Presented at: 3rd Annual Heart in Diabetes Medical Conference; July 12-14, 2019; Philadelphia, PA. Abstract 0012.

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This article originally appeared on Endocrinology Advisor