Microalbuminuria predicts silent myocardial ischaemia in type 2 diabetes patients

Giampiero Giovacchini, Mario Cappagli, Stefano Carro, Sandro Borrini, Antonella Montepagani, Rossella Leoncini, Gianfranco Mazzotta, Gianmario Sambuceti, Giuliano Mariani, Duccio Volterrani, Michael J. Zellweger, Andrea Ciarmiello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Myocardial ischaemia is frequently silent in patients with type 2 diabetes. Although it has been proposed as a potential screening tool, the role of myocardial perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (MPS) has recently been questioned, due to the low prevalence of positive scans and the low rate of cardiac events. The aim of this study was to assess if pretest clinical variables can identify a subgroup of asymptomatic patients with type 2 diabetes at risk of silent myocardial ischaemia and a subsequent poor outcome Methods: This prospective study included 77 patients (50 men, mean age 63 ± 9 years) with type 2 diabetes and no known coronary artery disease (CAD) or angina pectoris who underwent gated MPS to screen for CAD between March 2006 and October 2008. MPS images were interpreted using a semiquantitative visual 20-segment model to define summed stress, rest and difference scores. Ischaemia was defined as a sum difference score (SDS) ≥2. Patients were followed-up (median 4.1 years, range 0.8 - 6.1 years) and cardiac hard events (cardiac death or nonfatal myocardial infarction) were recorded. Results: Silent ischaemia was detected in 25 of the 77 patients (32 %). Specifically, 10 patients (13 %) had mild ischaemia (SDS 2 to ≤4) and 15 patients (19 %) had severe ischaemia (SDS >4). In univariate binary logistic analysis, microalbuminuria was the only significant predictor of silent ischaemia on MPS (odds ratio 4.42, 95 % CI 1.27 - 15.40; P = 0.019). The overall accuracy of microalbuminuria for predicting silent ischaemia was 71.4 % and was 89.6 % for predicting severe ischaemia. Kaplan-Meier curves showed no significant group differences in 5-year cardiac event-free survival between patients with and those without microalbuminuria, or between patients with SDS ≥2 and those with SDS 4 than in patients with SDS ≤4: 55.6 % (95 % CI 39.0 - 72.2 %) vs. 94.5 % (95 % CI: 91.4 - 97.6 %), respectively (Breslow test, chi-square 20.9, P <0.001). Median cardiac event-free survival was not observed in the whole group, while the 25th percentile of cardiac event-free survival was reached only in patients with SDS >4 (2.3 years). In univariate Cox regression analysis, SDS >4 predicted cardiac event-free survival (hazard ratio 12.87, 95 % CI 2.86 - 27.98; P = 0.001), while SDS ≥2 did not (hazard ratio 2.78, 95 % CI 0.62 - 12.46, P = 0.16). Conclusion: In this group of patients with type 2 diabetes, microalbuminuria was the only predictor of silent ischaemia on MPS. Assessment of microalbuminuria should be routinely considered among the first risk stratification steps for CAD in patients with type 2 diabetes, even though severe ischaemia on MPS is a major predictor of cardiac event-free survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-557
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Cardiac event-free survival
  • Microalbuminuria
  • Myocardial perfusion SPECT
  • Silent ischaemia
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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