Heart Bypass Surgery Better than Angioplasty for Diabetic Heart Patients

Jan 1, 1996

If you are in need of heart surgery and have diabetes, you may want to consider a report issued by the NIH Department of Health and Human Services and published in the September issue of Gratefully Yours, from the National Library of Medicine. It has been found that people who have coronary artery bypass graft surgery live longer than those who undergo angioplasty.

Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes of Health, the study found that angioplasty, which is the compression of the soft parts of hardened arteries in order to open blood passageways, was associated with a 35% mortality rate after five years compared to a 19% mortality rate in bypass patients.

The study focused on patients who were taking oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin and who were having their first revascularization procedure.

The different mortality rates did not apply to non-diabetics or to diabetic patients who were not taking medication. In those cases, the death rate was about nine percent, regardless of which procedure was performed.

The higher death rate apparently did not result from complications of the angioplasty procedure itself. Although people with diabetes are known to have a greater risk for cardiovascular problems and a higher mortality rate, the results of the study were surprising.

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