A groundbreaking study presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) has shed light on the characteristics associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D). SCA, a leading cause of death in high-income countries, poses a significant threat to people with T2D, especially those without a history of cardiovascular disease.
Led by Dr. Peter Harms and his team from Amsterdam UMC in the Netherlands, the study involved analyzing the clinical characteristics of 3,919 individuals with T2D. Out of these, 689 had experienced SCA, while 3,230 served as controls. The researchers delved into data from general practitioner (GP) records spanning a five-year period leading up to the SCA events, focusing on blood pressure, blood glucose readings, medication usage, and medical history.
The findings of the study uncovered several risk factors linked to SCA in individuals with and without a history of cardiovascular disease. For those with a history of cardiovascular disease, factors such as a history of arrhythmias, unknown smoking behavior, the use of insulin, and the use of QTc-prolonging prokinetic medication were all associated with an increased risk of SCA. Notably, commonly prescribed drugs like antibiotics, antipsychotic medications, and prokinetics were found to alter the heart’s electrical system, heightening SCA risk in T2D patients.
Meanwhile, individuals without a history of cardiovascular disease exhibited different risk factors. Low fasting glucose levels, severely high systolic blood pressure, low levels of HDL cholesterol, elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, and the use of QTc-prolonging antipsychotic and antibiotic medication were all linked to an increased risk of SCA.
These findings hold significant implications for healthcare providers who manage T2D patients. It is crucial for healthcare providers to be aware of these risk factors and to consider medication-related concerns when developing treatment strategies. Striking a balance in blood glucose management and carefully evaluating the risks and benefits of commonly used medications can play a pivotal role in reducing the incidence of SCA in this vulnerable population.
Ultimately, this research underscores the intricate relationship between T2D and SCA. Staying informed about emerging risk factors and medication-related concerns is crucial for healthcare providers. By understanding and addressing these factors, healthcare providers can enhance patient care and potentially save lives.