OBJECTIVE To determine whether a link exists between serious hypoglycemia and progression of atherosclerosis in a substudy of the Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial (VADT) and to examine whether glycemic control during the VADT modified the association between serious hypoglycemia and coronary artery calcium (CAC) progression. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Serious hypoglycemia was defined as severe episodes with loss of consciousness or requiring assistance or documented glucose <50 mg/dL. Progression of CAC was determined in 197 participants with baseline and follow-up computed tomography scans. RESULTS During an average follow-up of 4.5 years between scans, 97 participants reported severe hypoglycemia (n = 23) or glucose <50mg/dL (n = 74). Serious hypoglycemia occurred more frequently in the intensive therapy group than in the standard treatment group (74%vs. 21%, P <0.01). Serious hypoglycemiawas not associated with progression of CAC in the entire cohort, but the interaction between serious hypoglycemia and treatment was significant (P <0.01). Participants with serious hypoglycemia in the standard therapy group, but not in the intensive therapy group, had ∼50% greater progression of CAC than those without serious hypoglycemia (median 11.15 vs. 5.4 mm 3, P = 0.02). Adjustment for all baseline differences, including CAC, or time-varying risk factors during the trial, did not change the results. Examining the effect of serious hypoglycemia by on-trial HbA1c levels (cutoff 7.5%) yielded similar results. In addition, a dose-response relationship was found between serious hypoglycemia and CAC progression in the standard therapy group only. CONCLUSIONS Despite a higher frequency of serious hypoglycemia in the intensive therapy group, serious hypoglycemia was associated with progression of CAC in only the standard therapy group.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing