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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 957901, 7 pages
Research Article

Cardiac Autonomic Function Correlates with Arterial Stiffness in the Early Stage of Type 1 Diabetes

First Department of Internal Medicine, Diabetes Center, Athens University Medical School and General Hospital of Athens “Laiko”, 11527 Athens, Greece

Received 29 April 2011; Accepted 19 June 2011

Academic Editor: Alexander Kokkinos

Copyright © 2011 S. Liatis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Arterial stiffness is increased in type 1 diabetes (T1D), before any clinical complications of the disease are evident. The aim of the present paper was to investigate the association between cardiac autonomic function and arterial stiffness in a cohort of young T1D patients, without history of hypertension and any evidence of macrovascular and/or renal disease. Large artery stiffness was assessed by measurement of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV). Cardiac autonomic function was assessed by the cardiovascular tests proposed by Ewing and Clarke. Patients with a high cardiac autonomic neuropathy score ( 4) had significantly higher PWV than those with a low score (0-1). A negative, heart rate-independent, correlation between PWV and heart rate variation during respiration was observed ( 𝑟 = 0 . 5 3 3 , 𝑃 < 0 . 0 0 1 ). In multivariable analysis, 𝐸 / 𝐼 index was the strongest correlate of PWV (β-coefficient = −0.326, 𝑃 = 0 . 0 0 2 ). Cardiac parasympathetic function is a strong predictor of large arterial stiffness, in young T1D patients free of macrovascular and renal complications.