Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AIMS: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a risk factor for cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular mortality. However, global distribution of cause-specific deaths in T2D is poorly understood. We characterized cause-specific deaths by geographic region among individuals with T2D at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). METHODS AND RESULTS: The international EXSCEL trial included 14,752 participants with T2D (73% with established CVD). We identified the proportion of deaths over 5-year follow-up attributed to cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular causes, and associated risk factors. During median 3.2-year follow-up, 1,091 (7.4%) participants died. Adjudicated causes of death were 723 cardiovascular (66.3% of deaths), including 252 unknown, and 368 non-cardiovascular (33.7%). Most deaths occurred in North America (N = 356/9.6% across region) and Eastern Europe (N = 326/8.1%), with fewest in Asia/Pacific (N = 68/4.4%). The highest proportional cause-specific deaths by region were sudden cardiac in Asia/Pacific (23/34% of regional deaths) and North America (86/24%); unknown in Eastern Europe (90/28%) and Western Europe (39/21%); and non-malignant non-cardiovascular in Latin America (48/31%). Cox proportional hazards model for adjudicated causes of death showed prognostic risk factors (hazard ratio [95% CI]) for cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular deaths, respectively: heart failure 2.04 (1.72-2.42) and 1.86 (1.46-2.39); peripheral artery disease 1.83 (1.54-2.18) and 1.78 (1.40-2.26); and current smoking status 1.61 (1.29-2.01) and 1.77 (1.31-2.40). CONCLUSIONS: In a contemporary T2D trial population, with and without established CVD, leading causes of death varied by geographic region. Underlying mechanisms leading to variability in cause of death across geographic regions and its impact on clinical trial endpoints warrant future research.

Original publication




Journal article


Am Heart J

Publication Date





123 - 135