Study: Sudden Cardiac Death Risk May Be Higher in Younger Patients with Diabetes

NOVEMBER 14, 2017
Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor
Children and young adults with diabetes may have a 7-fold increased risk of sudden cardiac death than those without diabetes, according to a poster presentation at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017.1

The findings, from preliminary research from Denmark, indicated that children and young adults with diabetes were 7 times more likely to die from sudden cardiac death than those without the condition. Additionally, the same group was also found to be 8 times more likely to die from any kind of heart disease, such as heart failure. The study was one of the first to examine causes of death and cause-specific death rates among children and young adults with diabetes in a nationwide setting.

In the study, the researchers evaluated individuals in Denmark aged 1 to 35 from 2000 to 2009 and aged 36 to 49 from 2007 to 2009. During the study period, 14,294 deaths occurred. The researchers used the Danish Register of Medicinal Product Statistics to identify individuals with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Among the deaths that occurred, 5% of the individuals had diabetes, of which 70% had type 1 and 30% had type 2. The leading cause of death among those with diabetes was cardiac disease. The most common causes of sudden cardiac death were coronary artery disease (47%) and sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (26%).

According to the researchers, the increased risk of sudden cardiac death in young individuals with diabetes may be due to abnormalities in their blood vessels caused by the disease. They noted that health care providers should monitor patients with diabetes to identify those at high risk of cardiovascular death.

“Our study shows the importance of early and continuous cardiovascular risk monitoring in children and young adults with diabetes,” Jesper Svane, BM, study author, said in a statement.2 “Health care providers need to be aware that even young patients with diabetes have elevated risk of mortality and that this is mainly explained by increased risk of sudden cardiac death.”

Because the Danish study population was 89% Caucasian, the researchers noted that the findings may not be applicable to other Western countries due to differences in demographics and organization of the health care systems.

References
  1. Svane J, Tfelt-Hansen J, Lynge TH, et al. Young persons with diabetes have a 7-fold increased risk of sudden cardiac death compared to persons without diabetes. Presented at: American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017. November 11-15, 2017. Anaheim, California.
  2. Sudden cardiac death rates may be seven times higher among young people with diabetes [news release]. Anaheim, CA: AHA’s website: November 13, 2017. newsroom.heart.org/news/sudden-cardiac-death-rates-may-be-seven-times-higher-among-young-people-with-diabetes?preview=7f6c. Accessed November 13, 2017.



 

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