Role of surrogate markers in assessing patients with diabetes mellitus and the metabolic syndrome and in evaluating lipid-lowering therapy

Venkataraman Rajaram, Sanjay Pandhya, Samir Patel, Peter M. Meyer, Marshall Goldin, Matt J M Feinstein, Rachel Neems, Philip R. Liebson, Benjamin M. Fiedler, James E. Macioch, Steven B. Feinstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Diabetes mellitus and the metabolic syndrome (MS) are reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, and cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death among patients with diabetes. A range of noninvasive screening tools may help reduce the morbidity and mortality of patients with diabetes because of early detection of subclinical cardiovascular disease and active monitoring of the effectiveness of therapy. Surrogate markers of subclinical disease include conventional and contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging of carotid artery intima-media thickness (c-IMT), 2-dimensional echocardiography, coronary artery calcium imaging, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, ankle-brachial indices, and brachial artery reactivity testing. Because these noninvasive imaging tools are relatively comfortable and entail relatively low risk to the patient, they are ideal for initial screening and for the repeated imaging that is required for monitoring the effectiveness of therapy. Moreover, when used in large numbers of patients with diabetes, prediabetes, and the MS, these imaging tools may be useful in developing and validating thresholds for the use of lipid-lowering therapy as well as clear therapeutic goals for this population. In addition, contrast-enhanced c-IMT scans now produce real-time images of the vasa vasorum and neovascularization of atherosclerotic plaque, potentially causing a paradigm shift in our view of the genesis of atherosclerosis and affecting treatment options for all populations. Thus, surrogate markers may not only help improve individual patient outcomes, they also may help direct scarce medical resources to maximize medical benefits, improve overall medical care, and minimize costs and untoward side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-48
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number11 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Jun 3 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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