Serum insulin and ECG abnormalities suggesting coronary heart disease in the populations of Mauritius and Nauru: Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations

Veronica R. Collins, Gary K. Dowse, Paul Z. Zimmet, Jaakko Tuomilehto, M. M. Alberti, M. M. Alberti, Hassam Gareeboo, Li Nan

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Cross-sectional associations between insulin and ECG abnormalities suggestive of 'possible' and 'probable' coronary heart disease (CHD) in the populations of Nauru (n = 568) and Mauritius (n = 3280) have been examined in both non-diabetic and diabetic subjects. Additionally, the longitudinal relationship between baseline insulin and incident ECG abnormalities has been explored in non-diabetic Nauruans (n = 177) over 5 years. Age-adjusted mean 2-hour serum insulin was generally higher in subjects with ECG abnormalities than those with a normal ECG, but the difference was significant only for non-diabetic Mauritian men (p < 0.01). There was no clear association between prevalence of ECG abnormalities and quintiles of fasting or 2-hr insulin in Mauritians, and in non-diabetic Nauruans there was a non-significant positive association between prevalence of ECG abnormalities and tertiles of 2-hr insulin. Logistic regression analyses showed a slight positive association between 2-hr insulin and ECG abnormalities in non-diabetic Mauritians (p = 0.06 in males, p = 0.09 in females), and non-diabetic male Nauruans (p = 0.054) independent of possible confounders. Fasting insulin was not associated in any group. In longitudinal analyses in Nauruans there were no significant differences in mean baseline fasting or 2-hr serum insulin between subjects who maintained a normal ECG and those who developed abnormalities consistent with 'possible CHD' (there were no changes suggestive of 'probable CHD'). The incidence of ECG changes suggesting 'possible CHD' was slightly higher in the upper tertile of baseline fasting insulin in both sexes and 2-hr insulin in females, but when other factors were accounted for, multiple logistic regression analyses did not support this finding. Data from the populations of Mauritius and Nauru do not support a major role for serum insulin in ECG abnormalities suggestive of CHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1393
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronary heart disease
  • ECG abnormalities
  • Insulin
  • Mauritius
  • Nauru

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