Association between coronary artery atherosclerosis and plasma glucose levels assessed by dual-source computed tomography

Yi Yu, Zhiwen Zhou, Kun Sun, Lili Xi, Lina Zhang, Lingwei Yu, Jing Wang, Jiayi Zheng, Ming Ding


Background: To assess the association between coronary artery atherosclerosis (CAA) and plasma glucose parameters in a randomly selected cohort of asymptomatic, community-dwelling, Chinese adults by dual-source computed tomography (DSCT).
Methods: We randomly selected participants and classified them into three groups based on their plasma glucose levels: normal glucose regulation (NGR), pre-diabetes, and diabetes mellitus (DM). The participants underwent DSCT, and those identified with CAA were divided into four groups according to the severity of their coronary artery stenosis. We analyzed the composition of plaques in all coronary artery segments according to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) guidelines. We compared the severity of coronary artery stenosis and the plaque composition with plasma glucose parameters among participants.
Results: Out of a total of 335 participants, 118 were found to have CAA. The prevalence of CAA was highest (P value for trend =0.031) in the diabetic group (67.7%) followed by the pre-diabetic group (35.1%) then the NGR group (27.7%). Both calcified and mixed plaques were found in the coronary arteries of the diabetic group while mixed and non-calcified plaques predominated in the pre-diabetic and the NGR groups. When data from all subjects with CAA were analyzed, blood glucose parameters, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), 2-hr postprandial plasma glucose (PPG), and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), exhibited a positive correlation with the severity of coronary stenosis (P<0.05). Multivariable logistic regression models indicated a significantly higher risk of CAA among the diabetic patients. Triglyceride levels were positively correlated with the blood glucose parameters among the three groups while LDL-C was elevated in the DM group but not in the pre-diabetic group compared to the NGR group.
Conclusions: The severity of CAA exhibited a direct correlation with the blood glucose parameters, FPG, PPG, and HbA1c. DSCT can accurately detect the presence and distribution of CAA in asymptomatic, community-dwelling subjects. DSCT is a useful screening tool for coronary artery disease (CAD).