Screening does not cut cardiac risk for diabetics

Screening for coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with type-2 diabetes does not reduce the rate of heart attacks or the number of cardiac deaths, US research suggests.

The findings cast further doubt over the effectiveness of screening and coincide with the full roll-out of the vascular screening programme for England, which began this month.

For this latest study, the researchers randomly assigned 1,123 patients with type-2 diabetes, with an average age of 60 and no CAD symptoms, to screening or no screening for CAD.

At the end of the five-year study, the researchers found that screening for CAD did not significantly lower mortality rates. Overall, there were 15 cardiac events, including eight cardiac deaths among patients in the screening group, compared with 17 events and seven deaths among patients in the non-screening group.

A significant increase in prescribing of statins, aspirin and ACE inhibitors was seen in both groups.

The researchers from Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut, concluded that the identification of participants with abnormal screening results did not serve to eliminate their risk over five years of follow-up.

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