We have shown a close relation between clinical microvascular complications and abnormalities of left ventricular function in 185 established diabetics without clinical heart disease. In 50 insulin-dependent diabetics who presented at under 20 years of age there was a correlation between the duration of diabetes and the isovolumic relaxation time, minimal dimension to mitral valve opening, and ratio of pre-ejection period to left ventricular ejection time. Diabetics with mild microvascular complications were similar to diabetics with no complications except for minor prolongation of the diastolic time intervals. Those with severe complications were significantly different from diabetes with milder complications and normal controls in all variables of left ventricular function. A close relation between left ventricular function and the microvascular complications index (code 0 when no complications to code 7 when all present and severe) was found for the following variables: isovolumic relaxation time, the interval from minimal dimension to mitral valve opening, ratio of pre-ejection period to left ventricular ejection time, and pre-ejection period index. It is concluded that in diabetes abnormalities of left ventricular function are related to duration of disease and complications; and that a diabetic specific heart muscle disorder occurs frequently in patients with severe microvascular complications.
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