Aims: A high prevalence of a low glomerular filtration rate (GFR) has recently been reported in patients with diabetes without albuminuria. We aimed to clarify the clinical characteristics of such patients, including the associations between these characteristics and atherosclerosis. Methods: We investigated the correlations between the estimated GFR (eGFR) and lipid profiles, the ankle-brachial index (ABI) and the intima-media thickness (IMT) in 450 patients with type 2 diabetes without macroalbuminuria. Results: The prevalence of renal insufficiency (RI) (GFR ＜60 mL/min/1.73 m2) in the patients without albuminuria was 19.1%. The ABI values of the patients with RI were significantly lower than those of the patients without RI, regardless of the presence of microalbuminuria, while there were no significant differences in IMT between the patients with and without RI. In a multivariate analysis, a low ABI was found to be significantly associated with a low eGFR, independent of age, sex, smoking, history of hypertension and/or dyslipidemia and duration of diabetes (β=0.134, p=0.013), whereas no significant associations were observed between the ABI and the urinary albumin excretion rate (UAER). The ApoB/LDL-C ratios and levels of ApoC3 were significantly higher in the patients with RI than those observed in the patients without RI, regardless of the presence of albuminuria. Conclusions: RI without albuminuria is closely associated with atherosclerosis of the peripheral arteries in diabetic patients. Furthermore, alterations in lipid metabolism may underlie this association.
Aim: The goal of this study was to analyze differences in risk factors, including the level of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and the distribution of lesions, between cases of critical limb ischemia (CLI) and intermittent claudication (IC) among patients with peripheral arterial disease. Methods: Risk factors and clinical characteristics were prospectively investigated in 817 consecutive patients, including 185 patients with CLI and 632 patients with IC. Results: The patients in the CLI group were older than those in the IC group (p＜0.001). The prevalence of diabetes and cerebral infarction and the proportion of women were higher in the CLI group (p＜0.05). The plasma BNP levels in the CLI group were higher than those observed in the IC group (333±538 vs. 136±354 pg/mL, p＜0.001). In contrast, the levels of homocysteine and fibrinogen were higher and the levels of albumin and the estimated glomerular filtration rate were lower in the CLI group (p＜0.05). According to a multiple logistic analysis, the BNP level, diabetes, female gender, the albumin level, body mass index (BMI) and ankle-brachial pressure index (ABI) were associated with CLI (p＜0.05). Aortoiliac artery lesions were less common, whereas femoropopliteal and below-the-knee (BK) lesions were more common, in the CLI group (p＜0.05). The number of affected BK arteries was also higher in the CLI group (p＜0.001). Correlations were found between the presence of aortoiliac lesions and smoking and a low HDL cholesterol level, while femoropopliteal lesions were found to correlate with age, BMI and hypertension and BK lesions were found to correlate with diabetes, age, female gender and BMI (p＜0.05). The plasma BNP level correlated with the number of affected BK arteries (p＜0.05). Conclusions: A high BNP level, diabetes, female gender, a low albumin level, ABI and BMI are risk factors for CLI. In this study, differences in the levels of anatomical lesions and correlated risk factors were found between the CLI and IC groups.
Aim: Obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which are often accompanied by obesity, are each independently associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the influence of OSA on arterial stiffness in obese patients remains unclear. We herein examined the relationships between the severity of OSA and CVD risk factors, including the severity of MetS and arterial stiffness, in obese patients. In addition, we evaluated the effects of weight reduction therapy on OSA and arterial stiffness. Methods: Among the 60 overweight or obese Japanese outpatients enrolled, 46 (76.7%) met the MetS criteria. Results: The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI), a new index of arterial stiffness, were significantly higher in the MetS patients than in the non-MetS patients, whereas there were no significant differences in body mass index, blood pressure or the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level. A multivariate regression analysis revealed that waist circumference, the C-reactive protein level and CAVI were independently correlated with AHI. In addition, age, SBP, IRI and AHI were independently correlated with CAVI. Furthermore, weight reduction therapy, including diet and exercise, over a three-month period significantly decreased the AHI and CAVI values in parallel with a reduction in BMI. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the severity of OSA is significantly correlated with the severity of MetS and arterial stiffness in obese patients. Short-term weight reduction therapy improves not only metabolic dysfunction, but also the severity of OSA and arterial stiffness, as measured according to the CAVI. Such changes may help to prevent atherosclerosis in obese patients.
Aim: The optimal treatment strategy for patients with aortic atheroma is not well established because data regarding medical treatment for such patients are lacking, especially with respect to the Japanese population. The purpose of this study was to clarify the effects of medical treatment on the risk of embolic events and mortality in patients with severe aortic plaque. Methods: We retrospectively investigated 75 consecutive patients with severe aortic plaque detected on transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) between 1995 and 2005. The occurrence of embolic events and all-cause death in the period after TEE was assessed. The cumulative incidence of subsequent embolic events and death was evaluated in relation to specific medical treatments, including statins, antiplatelet drugs and warfarin. Results: Embolic events occurred in 27 patients (36%) and death occurred in 37 patients (49%) during follow-up (5.6±3.0 years). The patients who experienced embolic events had a significantly higher prevalence of previous embolic events, atrial fibrillation and hemodialysis than the patients who did not experience embolic events. Univariate and multivariate analyses showed that the use of statins and/or antiplatelet drugs was significantly associated with a low incidence of death but not with a low incidence of embolic events. On the other hand, warfarin exhibited neither beneficial nor harmful effects on the incidence of embolic events or death. Conclusions: Statin and antiplatelet drugs have beneficial effects on the prognosis of patients with severe aortic plaque diagnosed on TEE.