Author(s): Emanuele N, Sacks J, Klein R, Reda D, Anderson R, Duckworth W, Abraira C; Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial Group. Ethnicity, race, and baseline retinopathy correlates in the Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial. Diabetes Care. 2005 Aug;28(8):1954-8. PMID 16043738
Journal: Diabetes Care, Volume 28, Issue 8, Aug 2005
OBJECTIVE The Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial (VADT) cohort is enriched with approximately 20% Hispanics and 20% African Americans, affording a unique opportunity to study ethnic differences in retinopathy.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Cross-sectional analyses on the baseline seven-field stereo fundus photos of 1,283 patients are reported here. Diabetic retinopathy scores are grouped into four classes of increasing severity: none (10-14), minimal nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) (15-39), moderate to severe NPDR (40-59), and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (60+). These four groups have also been dichotomized to none or minimal (10-39) and moderate to severe diabetic retinopathy (40+).
RESULTS The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy scores >40 was higher for Hispanics (36%) and African Americans (29%) than for non-Hispanic whites (22%). The difference between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites was significant (P 40 was significantly higher in African Americans than in non-Hispanic whites (P < 0.05). These differences could not be accounted for by an imbalance in traditional risk factors such as age, duration of diagnosed diabetes, HbA(1c) (A1C), and blood pressure. Diabetic retinopathy severity scores were also significantly associated with increasing years of disease duration, A1C, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, the degree of microalbuminuria, fibrinogen, and the percentage of patients with amputations. There was no relationship between retinopathy severity and the percentage of people who had strokes or cardiac revascularization procedures. There was an inverse relationship between retinopathy severity and total cholesterol, triglycerides, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 as well as with smoking history. Diabetic retinopathy scores were not associated with age.
CONCLUSIONS In addition to many well-known associations with retinopathy, a higher frequency of severe diabetic retinopathy was found in the Hispanic and African-American patients at entry into the VADT that is not accounted for by traditional risk factors for diabetic retinopathy, and these substantial ethnic differences remain to be explained.