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

WASHINGTON – 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 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 1diabetes 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.

About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute-care teaching and research hospital with 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis—caring for the whole person—MedStar Georgetown is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options within a trusting and compassionate environment.

MedStar Georgetown’s centers of excellence include neurosciences, transplant, cancer and gastroenterology. Along with Magnet® nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research and cutting-edge technologies, MedStar Georgetown’s healthcare professionals have a reputation for medical excellence and leadership. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital—Knowledge and Compassion Focused on You.


*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



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