American Diabetes Association
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Cardiovascular determinants of aerobic exercise capacity in adults with type 2 diabetes

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posted on 2020-07-17, 13:43 authored by Gaurav S Gulsin, Joseph Henson, Emer M Brady, Jack A Sargeant, Emma G Wilmot, Lavanya Athithan, Zin Z Htike, Anna-Marie Marsh, John D Biglands, Peter Kellman, Kamlesh Khunti, David Webb, Melanie J Davies, Thomas Yates, Gerry P McCann

To assess the relationship between subclinical cardiac dysfunction and aerobic exercise capacity (peak VO2) in adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D), a group at high risk of developing heart failure.

Research design and methods

Cross-sectional study. We prospectively enrolled a multi-ethnic cohort of asymptomatic adults with T2D and no history, signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Age-, sex-, and ethnicity-matched controls were recruited for comparison. Participants underwent bio-anthropometric profiling, cardiopulmonary exercise testing and cardiovascular magnetic resonance with adenosine stress perfusion imaging. Multivariable linear regression analysis was undertaken to identify independent associations between measures of cardiovascular structure and function and peak VO2.


Two hundred and forty seven adults with T2D (age 51.8±11.9 years, 55% males, 37% black or south Asian ethnicity, HbA1c 7.4±1.1% (57±12 mmol/mol), duration of diabetes 61 (32 – 120) months and 78 controls were included. Subjects with T2D had increased concentric left ventricular (LV) remodelling, reduced myocardial perfusion reserve, and markedly lower aerobic exercise capacity (peak VO2 18.0±6.6 vs. 27.8±9.0mL/kg/min, p<0.001) compared with controls. In a multivariable linear regression model containing age, sex, ethnicity, smoking status and systolic blood pressure, only myocardial perfusion reserve (β=0.822, p=0.006) and E/e’ (β= -0.388, p=0.001) were independently associated with peak VO2 in subjects with T2D.


In a multi-ethnic cohort of asymptomatic people with T2D, myocardial perfusion reserve and diastolic function are key determinants of aerobic exercise capacity, independent of age, sex, ethnicity, smoking status, or blood pressure.


This study was funded by the NIHR through a career development fellowship (G McCann, CDF 2014-07-045), the British Heart Foundation (BHF) through a Clinical Research Training Fellowship (G Gulsin, CRTF 32190), the Medical Research Council (MRC) through an Interdisciplinary Bridging Award, and Novo Nordisk.


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