Left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) may develop without coronary artery disease, hypertension (HT), or valvular pathologies in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), which is defined as diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) and its pathophysiology is still unclear. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a microvascular complication of DM, and patients with DR have increased risk for the development of heart failure (HF). Two-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography (2D-STE) evaluates longitudinal deformation in left atrium (LA) myocardium and previous studies utilizing 2D-STE have revealed the detrimental effects of DM on LA functions. Although some studies have shown the association between DR and left ventricle (LV) systolic functions, as far as the researchers of this study investigated, there is no study evaluating the relationship between LA deformation parameters and DR. Hence, we aimed to investigate the relationship between the presence and the degree of DR and LA deformation parameters.
LA deformation parameters were analyzed in terms of LA reservoir, conduit, and contractile functions according to the degree of DR. LA reservoir strain value was 14.2 ± 3.6 in normal retina group, 12.2 ± 4.1 in non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) group, and 13 ± 3.7 in proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) group (P = 0.04). LA contractile strain was 15.9 ± 6.8 in normal retina group, 13.1 ± 47.4 in NPDR group, and 9.9 ± 4.7 in PDR group (P < 0.001). LA conduit strain was 30.1 ± 6.6 in normal retina group, 25.3 ± 6.5 in NPDR group, and 22.9 ± 4.9 in PDR group (P < 0.001). Proportional odds regression for association between clinical data, echocardiographic parameters, and LA contractile strain function showed that increasing creatinine (from 0.7 to 1.0; OR 0.71; 95% CI 0.51–0.99; P = 0.04), DR presence (OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.11–0.50; P = 0.001), and increasing left atrial volume index (LAVI) (from 33.5 to 52.6; OR 0.62; 95% CI 0.43–0.89; P = 0.01) were associated with decreasing LA function; however, other variables indicated no association.
Our results showed the relationship between LA deformation parameters and DR, although microvascular involvement is not a certainly defined cardiovascular risk factor. Further prospective studies are needed to determine the clinical importance of DR presence and its degree for deformation parameters.