OBJECTIVE: To examine carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), predictors of its progression, and its relationship with incident coronary heart disease (CHD) in type 2 diabetic Japanese patients. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Carotid IMT of 287 subjects with type 2 diabetes (mean age 61.6 years) without CHD or cerebrovascular disease was examined at baseline and after a mean follow-up of 3.1 years. RESULTS: The annual progression of IMT (means +/- SEM) was 0.04+/-0.004 mm/year. Stepwise multivariate analysis demonstrated that independent risk factors for progress of IMT were the initial IMT (P<0.001), the average HbA1c level (P<0.001), and age (P = 0.001). Both the initial IMT (odds ratio [OR] 4.9, 95% CI 1.7-14.1) and a low average HDL cholesterol (OR 0.2, 0.1-0.8) were identified as predictors of incident nonfatal CHD (angina pectoris or nonfatal myocardial infarction; 3-year incidence 10.1%) after adjusting for age, sex, average HbA1c, and other risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: The predictors of the progression of carotid IMT in Japanese type 2 diabetic subjects were its baseline thickness and the average HbA1c during the follow-up. Baseline carotid IMT and low HDL cholesterol predicted the incidence of nonfatal CHD.

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