Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research article

Cardiovascular comorbidities among public health clinic patients with diabetes: the Urban Diabetics Study

Jessica M Robbins1*, David A Webb1 and Christopher N Sciamanna2

Author Affiliations

1 Philadelphia Department of Public Health, 500 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA

2 Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2005, 5:15  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-15

Published: 8 February 2005



We sought to determine the frequency and distribution of cardiovascular comorbidities in a large cohort of low-income patients with diabetes who had received primary care for diabetes at municipal health clinics.


Outpatient data from the Philadelphia Health Care Centers was linked with hospital discharge data from all Pennsylvania hospitals and death certificates.


Among 10,095 primary care patients with diabetes, with a mean observation period of 4.6 years (2.8 after diabetes diagnosis), 2,693 (14.3%) were diagnosed with heart disease, including 270 (1.4%) with myocardial infarction and 912 (4.8%) with congestive heart failure. Cerebrovascular disease was diagnosed in 588 patients (3.1%). Over 77% of diabetic patients were diagnosed with hypertension. Incidence rates of new complications ranged from 0.6 per 100 person years for myocardial infarction to 26.5 per 100 person years for hypertension. Non-Hispanic whites had higher rates of myocardial infarction, and Hispanics and Asians had fewer comorbid conditions than African Americans and non-Hispanic whites.


Cardiovascular comorbidities were common both before and after diabetes diagnosis in this low-income cohort, but not substantially different from mixed-income managed care populations, perhaps as a consequence of access to primary care and pharmacy services.