OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether asymptomatic middle cerebral artery (MCA) stenosis is associated with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Chinese with type 2 diabetes.
METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, 2,144 Hong Kong Chinese with type 2 diabetes and without history of stroke or atrial fibrillation were recruited in 1994-1996 and followed up for a median of 14.51 years. Participants were assessed at baseline for MCA stenosis using transcranial Doppler. We performed survival analysis to assess the association between asymptomatic MCA stenosis and first CVD event, defined as ischemic stroke, acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or cardiovascular death.
RESULTS: Of the 2,144 subjects, MCA stenosis at baseline was detected in 264 (12.3%). Rates of stroke, ACS and cardiovascular death per 100 were, respectively, 2.24, 2.92 and 1.11 among participants with stenosis, higher than among those without stenosis. Ten-year cumulative occurrence of stroke, ACS and cardiovascular death in subjects with MCA stenosis was 20%, 24% and 10%, respectively, higher than the corresponding values for subjects without stenosis(all P<0.001). After adjusting for covariates, MCA stenosis was found to be an independent predictor of stroke [hazard ratio (HR) 1.40, 95%CI 1.05-1.86; P = 0.02], ACS (HR 1.35, 95%CI 1.04-1.75; P = 0.02) and cardiovascular death(HR 1.56, 95%CI 1.04-2.33; P = 0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: Asymptomatic MCA stenosis is a risk factor for CVD in Chinese with type 2 diabetes, and detection of asymptomatic MCA stenosis by transcranial Doppler can identify diabetic individuals at high risk of future CVD. This finding is particularly important for diabetic individuals in Asia, where intracranial atherosclerosis is common.