Research Article

Predictive value of microalbuminuria in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes of long duration.

BMJ 1992; 305 doi: (Published 31 October 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;305:1051
  1. C. M. Forsblom,
  2. P. H. Groop,
  3. A. Ekstrand,
  4. L. C. Groop
  1. Fourth Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.


    OBJECTIVE--To investigate the predictive value of microalbuminuria (albumin excretion rate 30-300 mg/24 h) as a risk factor for overt diabetic nephropathy in patients with longstanding insulin dependent diabetes. DESIGN--10 year follow up of patients with normoalbuminuria (albumin excretion rate < 30 mg/24 h), microalbuminuria (30-300 mg/24 h), and macroalbuminuria (> 300 mg/24 h) based on two out of three timed overnight urine samples. SETTING--Outpatient clinic of Helsinki University Hospital. SUBJECTS--72 consecutive patients who had had insulin dependent diabetes for over 15 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Urinary albumin excretion rate, mortality, and prevalence of diabetic complications after 10 years. RESULTS--56 patients were re-examined at 10 year follow up, 10 had died, five were lost to follow up, and one was excluded because of non-diabetic kidney disease. At initial screening 22 patients had macroalbuminuria, 18 had microalbuminuria, and 26 had normal albumin excretion. Only five (28%, 95% confidence interval 10% to 54%) of the microalbuminuric patients developed macroalbuminuria during the 10 year follow up and none developed end stage renal failure. Two (8%, 1% to 25%) normoalbuminuric patients developed macroalbuminuria and four (15%, 4% to 35%) became microalbuminuric. Seven (32%, 14% to 55%) of the macroalbuminuric patients developed end stage renal failure and six (27%, 11% to 50%) died of cardiovascular complications. CONCLUSION--Microalbuminuria is not a good predictor of progression to overt nephropathy in patients with longstanding insulin dependent diabetes.