Objective To evaluate the impact of screening stress testing for coronary artery disease in asymptomatic patients with diabetes in a community-based population. Patients and Methods This observational study included 3146 patients from Olmsted County, Minnesota, with no history of coronary artery disease or cardiac symptoms in whom diabetes was newly diagnosed from January 1, 1992, through December 31, 2008. With combined all-cause mortality and myocardial infarction as the primary outcome, weighted Cox proportional hazards regression was performed with screening stress testing within 2 years of diabetes diagnosis as the time-dependent covariate. For descriptive analysis, participants were classified by their clinical experience during the first 2 years postdiagnosis as screened (asymptomatic, underwent stress test), unscreened (asymptomatic, no stress test), or symptomatic (experienced symptoms or event). Results Among the screened and unscreened participants, 54% (1358 of 2538) were men; the mean (SD) age at diabetes diagnosis was 55 years (13.8 years), and 97% (2442 of 2520) had type 2 diabetes. In event-free survival analysis, 292 patients comprised the screened cohort and 2246 patients comprised the unscreened cohort. Death or myocardial infarction occurred in 454 patients (32 patients in the screened cohort and 422 in the unscreened cohort [5-year rate, 1.9% and 5.3%, respectively]) during median (interquartile range) follow-up of 9.1 years (5.3-12.5 years). Screening stress testing was associated with improved event-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.61; P=.004), independent of cardiac risk factors. However, while stress test results were abnormal in 47 of the 292 screened patients (16%), only 6 (2%) underwent coronary revascularization. Conclusion Although screening cardiac stress testing in asymptomatic patients with diabetes in this community-based population was associated with improvement in long-term event-free survival, this result does not appear to occur by coronary revascularization alone.
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