A wide range of clinical consequences of cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) can be observed in diabetic patients and contributes to the clinical picture of the diabetic heart. Resting heart rate and cardiovascular reflexes as well as circadian heart rate variability may be altered by CAN in diabetes. Moreover, blood pressure is also influenced by sympathovagal imbalance. Postural hypotension is a clinical characteristic in diabetic subjects with CAN. Painless myocardial infarction, ischaemia and left ventricular dysfunction are also observed in some cases. Impairment of cardiac parasympathetic and sympathetic innervation as well as QT-interval prolongation may play a partial role in the pathogenic mechanism of sudden unexpected death in diabetic patients. The risk of surgical intervention and that of anaesthesia are increased due to abnormal cardiovascular reactions. Clinical symptoms and signs of CAN should be assessed as severe diabetic complication and the therapy is difficult in some cases. Taken together, symptoms and signs of CAN carry a poor prognosis in diabetic patients.