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Background: The prevalence of Diabetes mellitus (DM) is on a rise in sub Saharan Africa and will more than double by 2025. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for up to 2/3 of all deaths in the diabetic population. Of all the CVD deaths in DM, 3/4 occur in sub Saharan Africa (SSA). Non invasive identification of cardiac abnormalities, such as Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH), diastolic and systolic dysfunction, is not part of diabetes complications surveillance programs in Uganda and there is limited data on this problem. This study sought to determine the prevalence, types and factors associated with echocardiographic abnormalities among newly diagnosed diabetic patients at Mulago National referral hospital in Uganda.
Methods: In this cross sectional study conducted between June 2014 and December 2014, we recruited 202 newly diagnosed adult diabetic patients. Information on patients' socio-demographics, bio-physical profile, biochemical testing and echocardiographic findings was obtained for all the participants using a pre-tested questionnaire. An abnormal echocardiogram in this study was defined as the presence of LVH, diastolic and/or systolic dysfunction and wall motion abnormality. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the association of several parameters with echocardiographic abnormalities.
Results: Of the 202 patients recruited, males were 102(50.5%) and the mean age was 46±15 years. Majority of patients had type 2 DM, 156(77.2%) and type 1 DM, 41(20.3%) with mean HbA1C of 13.9±5.3%. Mean duration of diabetes was 2 months. The prevalence of an abnormal echocardiogram was 67.8 % (95% CI 60%-74%). Diastolic dysfunction, systolic dysfunction, LVH and wall motion abnormalities were present in 55.0%, 21.8%, 19.3% and 4.0% of all the participants respectively. In bivariate logistic regression analysis, the factors associated with an abnormal echocardiogram were age (OR 1.09 [95% CI 1.06 1.12], P <0.0001), type 2 DM (OR 5.8[95% CI 2.77-12.07], P<0.0001), hypertension (OR 2.64[95% CI 1.44-4.85], P=0.002), obesity (OR 3.51[955 CI 1.25-9.84], P=0.017 and increased waist circumference (OR 1.02[95% CI 1.00-1.04], P=0.024. On Multiple logistic regression analysis, age was the only factor associated with an abnormal echocardiogram (OR 1.09[95%CI 1.05-1.15], P<0.0001).
Conclusion: Echocardiographic abnormalities were common among newly diagnosed adults with DM. Traditional CVD risk factors were associated with an abnormal echocardiogram in this patient population. Due to a high prevalence of echocardiographic abnormalities among newly diagnosed diabetics, we recommend screening for cardiac disease especially in patients who present with traditional CVD risk factors. This will facilitate early diagnosis, management and hence better patient outcomes.
Keywords: Diabetes mellitus, echocardiography, cardiac abnormalities