Cardiac autonomic neuropathy (CAN) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality for people with type 1 (T1D) and type 2 (T2D) diabetes. Heart rate variability (HRV) has been shown to be a marker of CAN with 24-hour Holter monitoring being a robust modality to assess HRV.
To investigate the impact of hypoglycemia on CAN and its potential reversibility with islet transplantation, we compared HRV assessment by 24-hour Holter monitor on a total of 109 subjects from 5 cohorts: (1) T1D with recurrent severe hypoglycemia and on waiting list for islet transplant, (2) T1D following islet cell transplantation (ICT), (3) T2D without hypoglycemia, (4) individuals with prediabetes, and (5) controls without diabetes. SD of the normal-normal interval, square root of the mean squared differences of successive normal-normal intervals (rMSSD) and total spectral power were analyzed.
There was no significant difference in HRV parameters between T1D subjects and T1D post ICT suggesting CAN is not reversible at a median of 4 years postislet transplant. There was a significant difference in controls and T1D in rMSSD and between controls and T2D in total power. The differential effect on rMSSD in T1D and T2D suggests potential greater impact of hypoglycemia on rMSSD.
Achieving euglycemia after ICT may not reverse CAN once established with no significant difference in HRV parameters at a median of 4 years postislet transplant. Differential effects of T1D as compared with T2D on CAN were identified.