Myocardial interstitial fibrosis expands the extracellular volume (ECV) and in patients with type 2 diabetes is implicated in development of heart failure. ECV can be determined with gadolinium contrast MRI. We investigated which known risk factors for cardiovascular disease were associated with increased ECV in patients with type 2 diabetes.


A total of 296 patients with type 2 diabetes and 25 sex and age-matched control subjects were included in a cross-sectional MRI study. The influence of risk factors on ECV was investigated with multiple regression analysis.


Control subjects and patients with type 2 diabetes without complications had similar ECV (mean ± SD 27.4 ± 2.1% vs. 27.9 ± 2.6%, P = 0.4). Compared with patients without, ECV was significantly increased in patients with one or more complications (29.0 ± 3.3%, P = 0.02). Both in univariable analysis and after multivariable adjustment, ischemic heart disease, autonomic neuropathy, and active smoking were associated with increased levels of ECV. Active smoking exhibited the largest effect size (β = 2.0 percentage points, 95% CI 0.7–3.3). Former smokers ECV similar to that of never smokers. Albuminuria and systolic blood pressure were inversely associated with ECV in multivariable analysis, but after adjustment for medication suspected to affect ECV, the association with albuminuria was no longer significant (P = 0.1). Sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor treatment was not significantly associated with reduced ECV (−0.8%, 95% CI −1.7 to 0.06, P = 0.067).


Patients with complications of diabetes have increased ECV, not seen in patients without complications. Ischemic heart disease, autonomic neuropathy, and active but not former smoking were highly associated with increased ECV.

Clinical trial reg. no. NCT02684331, clinicaltrials.gov

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.21158695.

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