Polyvascular disease is an independent predictor of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). The relationship between the number of diseased arterial beds and MACE is unknown. How MACE risk changes in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D) is also understudied. Furthermore, it is unknown whether heart failure (HF) status and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels influence outcomes in polyvascular disease. This analysis from the Exenatide Study of Cardiovascular Event Lowering trial (EXSCEL) aimed to examine the risk associated with increasing number of diseased arterial beds on MACE and all-cause mortality (ACM).
Cox models were used to test associations between the number of diseased arterial beds and MACE and ACM. Prespecified interaction testing between number of diseased arterial beds with baseline HF, HbA1c (≤8% vs. >8%), and treatment assignment was performed.
Overall, 14,751 participants were included; 26.5% were without atherosclerosis, 58.9% had 1-bed, 12.3% had 2-bed, and 2.3% had 3-bed disease. An increasing burden of atherosclerotic disease was associated with increasing risk of MACE (adjusted HR [aHR] 1.71 [95% CI 1.46-2.02]; 2.61 [2.17-3.15]; 3.46 [2.69-4.45] for 1, 2, and 3 beds, respectively, p < 0.001 for all) and ACM (1.94 [1.56-2.42]; 3.03 [2.33-3.95]; 3.66 [2.59-5.18] for 1, 2, and 3 beds, respectively, p < 0.001 for all). Prespecified interaction testing did not reveal any significant associations.
In patients with T2D, compared to those without atherosclerotic vascular disease, risk of MACE and ACM increases incrementally with each additional diseased arterial bed.

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