We aimed at investigating whether diabetes is associated with progression in coronary plaque components.
We identified 142 study subjects undergoing serial coronary computed tomography angiography. The resulting propensity score was applied 1:1 to match diabetic patients to non-diabetic patients for clinical risk factors, prior coronary stenting, coronary artery calcium (CAC) score and the serial scan interval, resulting in the 71 diabetes and 71 non-diabetes patients. Coronary plaque (total, calcified, non-calcified including fibrous, fibrous-fatty and low attenuation plaque [LAP]) volume normalized by total coronary artery length was measured using semi-automated plaque software and its change overtime between diabetic and non-diabetic patients was evaluated.
The matching was successful without significant differences between the two groups in all matched variables. The baseline volumes in each plaque also did not differ. During a mean scan interval of 3.4 ± 1.8 years, diabetic patients showed a 2-fold greater progression in normalized total plaque volume (TPV) than non-diabetes patients (52.8 mm3vs. 118.3 mm3, p = 0.005). Multivariable linear regression model revealed that diabetes was associated with normalized TPV progression (β 72.3, 95%CI 24.3-120.3). A similar trend was observed for the non-calcified components, but not calcified plaque (β 3.8, 95%CI -27.0-34.7). Higher baseline CAC score was found to be associated with total, non-calcified and calcified plaque progression. However, baseline non-calcified volume but not CAC score was associated with LAP progression.
The current study among matched patients indicates diabetes is associated with a greater plaque progression. Our results show the need for strict adherence of diabetic patients to the current preventive guidelines.