Recent studies have shown that gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. GDM has also been shown to be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2DM) after pregnancy. However, there is limited evidence regarding the role of intercurrent T2DM on the relationship between GDM and future CVD. Thus, we investigated the risks of incident cardiovascular events among women with GDM during pregnancy compared to women without GDM and whether the increased CVD risk is dependent on intercurrent development of T2DM. We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study using the Korean National Health Insurance Service claims database. Outcomes were the first occurrence of any CVD (myocardial infarction, treatment with coronary revascularization, heart failure, and cerebrovascular disease). Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the association between GDM and incident CVD events, using landmark analysis at 4 years. A total of 1,500,168 parous women were included in the analysis, of which 159,066 (10.60%) had GDM. At a median follow-up of 12.8 years, 13,222 incident cases of total CVD were observed. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio for total CVD among women with prior GDM, compared with those without GDM, was 1.08 (95% CI 1.02–1.14). Further classifying GDM by progression to T2DM in relation to total CVD risk indicated a positive association for GDM with progression to T2DM vs no GDM or T2DM (HR 1.74; 95% CI 1.40–2.15), and no statistically significant association for GDM only (HR 1.06; 95% CI 1.00–1.12). GDM with subsequent progression to T2DM were linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. These findings highlight the need for more vigilant postpartum screening for diabetes and the implementation of diabetes interventions in women with a history of GDM to reduce future CVD risk.
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