• adult diabetes;
  • cancer;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • mortality;
  • silent myocardial ischaemia


Aims  To determine the prognosis of patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, 6 years after screening for silent myocardial ischaemia (SMI).

Methods  Two hundred and three asymptomatic patients with diabetes underwent systematic SMI screening. From the results of this screening, they were allocated to one of three groups: patients (n = 171) with negative screening; patients (n = 32) with positive screening; and patients (n = 21) with positive screening and coronary stenosis. Six years after the initial assessment, all patients were re-assessed. All events [death, cardiac death, non-fatal major cardiac events (NFMCEs)—acute myocardial infarction, ventricular rhythm disorders, heart failure, unstable angina] were recorded.

Results  Fifteen patients were lost to follow-up. Patients (n = 20) with positive SMI screening and coronary stenosis had a higher risk of NFMCEs (35% vs. 7%, P < 0.001), and a higher mortality rate (35% vs. 15%, P < 0.05) compared with patients (n = 157) with negative screening. SMI-positive patients (n = 31) had a higher NFMCE rate compared with negative SMI screening patients, although overall mortality rate was no different. Cancer was the leading cause of death (36.4%). In multivariate analysis, major cardiac events (cardiac death and NFMCE) were related to baseline age, body mass index and coronary stenosis (P < 0.01).

Conclusions  Patients with diabetes and SMI have a very poor prognosis as assessed by cardiac events or death, especially in the presence of coronary stenosis.