There is continuing debate about the net benefits of population screening for type 2 diabetes. We compared the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality among incident cases of type 2 diabetes in a screened group with those in an unscreened group.
In this register-based non-randomised controlled trial, eligible individuals were all men and women aged 40-69 years without known diabetes, registered with a general practice in Denmark (n = 1,912,392). Between 2001 and 2006, 153,107 individuals registered with 181 practices participating in the Anglo-Danish-Dutch Study of Intensive Treatment in People with Screen-Detected Diabetes in Primary Care (ADDITION)-Denmark study were sent a diabetes-risk-score questionnaire. Individuals at moderate-to-high risk were invited to visit their family doctor for assessment of diabetes status and cardiovascular risk (screening group). The 1,759,285 individuals registered with all other practices in Denmark constituted the retrospectively constructed no-screening (control) group. In this post hoc analysis, we identified individuals from the screening and no-screening groups who were diagnosed with diabetes between 2001 and 2009 (n = 139,075), and compared risk of CVD and mortality in these groups between 2001 and 2012.
In the screening group, 27,177/153,107 (18%) individuals attended for screening, of whom 1533 were diagnosed with diabetes. Between 2001 and 2009, 13,992 people were newly diagnosed with diabetes in the screening group (including those diagnosed by screening) and 125,083 in the no-screening group. Between 2001 and 2012, the risks of CVD and mortality were lower among individuals with diabetes in the screening group compared with individuals with diabetes in the no-screening (control) group (CVD HR 0.84, 95% CI 0.80, 0.89; mortality HR 0.79, 95% CI 0.74, 0.84).
A single round of diabetes screening and cardiovascular risk assessment in middle-aged Danish adults in general practice was associated with a significant reduction in risk of all-cause mortality and CVD events in those diagnosed with diabetes.