Understanding Heart Attack and Stroke Risk in Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Posted in News Release

WASHINGTON (March 25, 2015)– It’s a little known fact: heart attack is the leading cause of death for people younger than 40 who have type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is a risk factor for both heart attacks and strokes; more than a third of those with type 1 diabetes die before age 55 from some form of cardiovascular disease.* To understand more about risk factors in young patients, Georgetown University Medical Center is looking for both children with type 1 diabetes and healthy children, ages 12 to 18, to help with an important new study.

“Many young patients with type 1 diabetes have high cholesterol, a contributing risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but only a few of them are treated with cholesterol-lowering medications,” says Evgenia Gourgari, MD, an assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at Georgetown University School of Medicine . “Pediatric endocrinologists are often hesitant to treat these young patients in the absence of information about the long-term safety and effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering drugs.”

Gougari, who treats patients at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital , and her colleagues have launched a study to learn more about children with type 1 diabetes who might be at risk of later having a stroke or heart attack.

“What we seek to understand are the differences in cholesterol, blood pressure, potential plaque build-up in the arteries and other factors in those with type 1 diabetes in comparison with healthy youngsters,” says Gougari, principal investigator of the study. “Eventually, we’ll want to know if treatment can make a difference and if it matters to start treatment early so we can prevent future heart disease.”

Healthy children and those with type 1 diabetes between the ages of 12 and 18 are invited to volunteer in a study involving a single blood draw (to measure lipid/cholesterol levels), a urine test and an ultrasound scan of the carotid artery  (in the neck). All the tests are conducted in one visit at no charge to participants. A modest compensation is offered to all participants.

This study is funded in part by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (UL1TR000101) to Georgetown and Howard universities, and by generous community support through the Georgetown University Medical Center Partners In Research program. Gourgari reports having no personal financial interests related to the study.

For more information about this for children with type 1 diabetes, please call Stephanie Gubb at 202-444-1210 or email her at smg256@georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.


*Report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Working Group on Cardiovascular Complications of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus