Heart failure outcomes worse in diabetics: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A new study shows that having diabetes independently raises the risk of illness and death in people with heart failure, which occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently.

A “novel finding,” according to the research team, was that having diabetes conferred a greater increased risk of heart-related death or need for hospital admission in individuals whose heart’s showed fairly well preserved blood-pumping power compared with individuals whose heart’s showed poorer blood-pumping power.

These are the findings of Dr. John J. V. McMurray of the University of Glasgow, UK, and colleagues who analyzed outcomes for nearly 7,600 patients with chronic heart failure.

Twenty-eight percent of the study subjects had diabetes and 60 percent had a low “ejection fraction” -- a measure of the heart’s blood-pumping power -- the team reports in the European Heart Journal.

People who have low ejection fractions are prone to sudden cardiac death. Doctors often use echocardiography, an ultrasound test of the heart, to measure ejection fraction.

During follow up lasting a median of 38 months, the risk of death and hospitalization for heart failure patients with diabetes versus those without diabetes was 60 percent higher among patients with low ejection fractions, yet twofold higher among those with preserved ejection fractions.

These findings require further study, the investigators note.

SOURCE: European Heart Journal, June 2008.