MEDLINE Abstracts: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS)

April 30, 2002

MEDLINE Abstracts: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS)

Retinopathy and Nephropathy in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Four Years after a Trial of Intensive Therapy.

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Research Group.
N Engl J Med 2000 Feb 10;342(6):381-9

Background: Among patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, intensive therapy (with the aim of achieving near-normal blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin concentrations [hemoglobin A1c]) markedly reduces the risk of microvascular complications as compared with conventional therapy. To assess whether these benefits persist, we compared the effects of former and intensive conventional therapy on the recurrence and severity of retinopathy and nephropathy for four years after the end of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT).
Methods: At the end of the DCCT, the patients in the conventional-therapy group were offered intensive therapy, and the care of all patients was transferred to their own physicians. Retinopathy was evaluated on the basis of centrally graded fundus photographs in 1208 patients during the fourth year after the DCCT ended, and nephropathy was evaluated on the basis of urine specimens obtained from 1302 patients during the third or fourth year, approximately half of whom were from each treatment group.
Results: The difference in the median glycosylated hemoglobin values between the conventional-therapy and intensive-therapy groups during the 6.5 years of the DCCT (average, 9.1 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively) narrowed during follow-up (median during 4 years, 8.2 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively, P<0.001). Nevertheless, the proportion of patients who had worsening retinopathy, including proliferative retinopathy, macular edema, and the need for laser therapy, was lower in the intensive-therapy group than in the conventional-therapy group (odds reduction, 72 percent to 87 percent, P<0.001). The proportion of patients with an increase in urinary albumin excretion was significantly lower in the intensive-therapy group.
Conclusions: The reduction in the risk of progressive retinopathy and nephropathy resulting from intensive therapy in patients with type 1 diabetes persists for at least four years, despite increasing hyperglycemia.

Effects of Repeated Hypoglycemia on Cognitive Function: A Psychometrically Validated Reanalysis of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Data.

Austin EJ, Deary IJ
Diabetes Care 1999 Aug;22(8):1273-7

Objective: To test the conclusion that there is no association between multiple episodes of severe hypoglycemia and cognitive decrements by reanalyzing the data from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) with psychometrically validated cognitive factors and to conduct a novel analysis of the association between individual differences in baseline cognitive ability and episodes of severe hypoglycemia documented after baseline.
Research Design and Methods: The factor structure of cognitive ability in the neuropsychological data from the DCCT study was derived. Four cognitive factors (spatial ability, processing speed, memory, and verbal ability) were extracted. Changes in patients' cognitive scores for each year of follow-up were obtained, and paired comparisons of these change scores were performed between groups experiencing zero and five or more hypoglycemic episodes. The association between cognitive ability at baseline and number of subsequent episodes of severe hypoglycemia was also examined.
Results: Repeated episodes of hypoglycemia were found not to be associated with cognitive decline in any of the validated cognitive factors. No significant association was found between prospectively documented numbers of severe hypoglycemic episodes and baseline cognitive ability level.
Conclusions: Repeated episodes of hypoglycemia were not related to cognitive decrement, and initial mental ability level was not associated with eventual numbers of hypoglycemic episodes in this group of patients.

Early Worsening of Diabetic Retinopathy in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial.

Arch Ophthalmol 1998 Jul;116(7):874-86

Objectives: To document the frequency, importance of, and risk factors for "early worsening" of diabetic retinopathy in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT).
Methods: The DCCT was a multicenter, randomized clinical trial comparing intensive vs conventional treatment in insulin-dependent diabetic patients who had no to moderate nonproliferative retinopathy. Retinopathy severity was assessed in 7-field stereoscopic fundus photographs taken at baseline and every 6 months. For this study, worsening was defined as progression of 3 steps or more on the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study final scale, as the development of soft exudates and/or intraretinal microvascular abnormalities, as the development of clinically important retinopathy, or as any of the above, and was considered "early" if it occurred between baseline and 12-month follow-up visits.
Results: Early worsening was observed at the 6- and/or 12-month visit in 13.1% of 711 patients assigned to intensive treatment and in 7.6% of 728 patients assigned to conventional treatment (odds ratio, 2.06; P < .001); recovery had occurred at the 18-month visit in 51% and 55% of these groups, respectively (P = .39). The risk of 3-step or greater progression from the retinopathy level present 18 months after entry into the trial was greater in patients who previously had had early worsening than in those who had not. However, the large long-term risk reduction with intensive treatment was such that outcomes in intensively treated patients who had early worsening were similar to or more favorable than outcomes in conventionally treated patients who had not. The most important risk factors for early worsening were higher hemoglobin A1c level at screening and reduction of this level during the first 6 months after randomization. We found no evidence to suggest that more gradual reduction of glycemia might be associated with less risk of early worsening. Early worsening led to high-risk proliferative retinopathy in 2 patients and to clinically significant macular edema in 3; all responded well to treatment.
Conclusions: In the DCCT, the long-term benefits of intensive insulin treatment greatly outweighed the risks of early worsening. Although no case of early worsening was associated with serious visual loss, our results are consistent with previous reports of sight-threatening worsening when intensive treatment is initiated in patients with long-standing poor glycemic control, particularly if retinopathy is at or past the moderate nonproliferative stage. Ophthalmologic monitoring before initiation of intensive treatment and at 3-month intervals for 6 to 12 months thereafter seems appropriate for such patients. In patients whose retinopathy is already approaching the high-risk stage, it may be prudent to delay the initiation of intensive treatment until photocoagulation can be completed, particularly if hemoglobin A1c is high.

Association of Systolic Blood Pressure with Macrovascular and Microvascular Complications of Type 2 diabetes (UKPDS 36): Prospective Observational Study.

Adler AI, Stratton IM, Neil HA, et al
BMJ 2000 Aug 12;321(7258):412-9

Objective: To determine the relation between systolic blood pressure over time and the risk of macrovascular or microvascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Design: Prospective observational study. Setting: 23 hospital based clinics in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
Participants: 4801 white, Asian Indian, and Afro-Caribbean UKPDS patients, whether randomised or not to treatment, were included in analyses of incidence; of these, 3642 were included in analyses of relative risk.
Outcome Measures: Primary predefined aggregate clinical outcomes: any complications or deaths related to diabetes and all cause mortality. Secondary aggregate outcomes: myocardial infarction, stroke, lower extremity amputation (including death from peripheral vascular disease), and microvascular disease (predominantly retinal photocoagulation). Single end points: non-fatal heart failure and cataract extraction. Risk reduction associated with a 10 mm Hg decrease in updated mean systolic blood pressure adjusted for specific confounders.
Results: The incidence of clinical complications was significantly associated with systolic blood pressure, except for cataract extraction. Each 10 mm Hg decrease in updated mean systolic blood pressure was associated with reductions in risk of 12% for any complication related to diabetes (95% confidence interval 10% to 14%, P<0.0001), 15% for deaths related to diabetes (12% to 18%, P<0.0001), 11% for myocardial infarction (7% to 14%, P<0.0001), and 13% for microvascular complications (10% to 16%, P<0.0001). No threshold of risk was observed for any end point.
Conclusions: In patients with type 2 diabetes the risk of diabetic complications was strongly associated with raised blood pressure. Any reduction in blood pressure is likely to reduce the risk of complications, with the lowest risk being in those with systolic blood pressure less than 120 mm Hg.

Association of Glycaemia with Macrovascular and Microvascular Complications of Type 2 diabetes (UKPDS 35): Prospective Observational Study.

Stratton IM, Adler AI, Neil HA, et al
BMJ 2000 Aug 12;321(7258):405-12

Objective: To determine the relation between exposure to glycaemia over time and the risk of macrovascular or microvascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Design: Prospective observational study. Setting: 23 hospital based clinics in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Participants: 4585 white, Asian Indian, and Afro-Caribbean UKPDS patients, whether randomised or not to treatment, were included in analyses of incidence; of these, 3642 were included in analyses of relative risk.
Outcome Measures: Primary predefined aggregate clinical outcomes: any end point or deaths related to diabetes and all cause mortality. Secondary aggregate outcomes: myocardial infarction, stroke, amputation (including death from peripheral vascular disease), and microvascular disease (predominantly retinal photo-coagulation). Single end points: non-fatal heart failure and cataract extraction. Risk reduction associated with a 1% reduction in updated mean HbA(1c) adjusted for possible confounders at diagnosis of diabetes.
Results: The incidence of clinical complications was significantly associated with glycaemia. Each 1% reduction in updated mean HbA(1c) was associated with reductions in risk of 21% for any end point related to diabetes (95% confidence interval 17% to 24%, P<0.0001), 21% for deaths related to diabetes (15% to 27%, P<0.0001), 14% for myocardial infarction (8% to 21%, P<0.0001), and 37% for microvascular complications (33% to 41%, P<0.0001). No threshold of risk was observed for any end point.
Conclusions: In patients with type 2 diabetes the risk of diabetic complications was strongly associated with previous hyperglycaemia. Any reduction in HbA(1c) is likely to reduce the risk of complications, with the lowest risk being in those with HbA(1c) values in the normal range (<6.0%).

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