Death rates same for diabetes and heart disease patients receiving drug therapy or surgery

Jun 08, 2009

There is no difference in mortality among patients with type 2 diabetes and stable heart disease who received prompt bypass surgery or angioplasty compared to drug therapy alone, according to a landmark study focused exclusively on patients with both conditions. The study, which was led by investigators at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, published in the June 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Diabetes Association 69th Scientific Sessions, also found that while prompt bypass in patients with more severe heart disease did not lower mortality, it lowered their risk of subsequent major cardiac events.

"More than 20 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes and many of these people also have heart disease," said Sheryl F. Kelsey, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and professor of epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "We began this study because we don't know how best to treat this deadly duo that is affecting more and more people at increasingly younger ages. Our results provide needed guidance about which approaches can best help these patients."

The Bypass Angioplasty Revascularization Investigation 2 Diabetes (BARI 2D) study began recruiting patients in 2001. The results are based on 2,368 patients with both and stable heart disease who were under a physician's care to control their cholesterol and blood pressure. Patients were randomized to receive drug therapy plus undergo prompt revascularization to restore blood flow—either angioplasty to open blocked arteries or ―or to receive drug therapy alone. The investigators also looked at which of two diabetes drug treatment strategies resulted in better outcomes - insulin-providing (increasing the amount of insulin) or insulin-sensitizing (lowering the body's resistance to its own insulin, such as metformin or rosiglitazone). The study was not a comparison between angioplasty and bypass surgery, but rather a comparison between a prompt procedure and medical therapy alone.

The results show that five-year survival rates did not differ significantly between the revascularization group (88.3 percent) and the drug therapy group (87.8 percent). In addition, there was no significant difference in survival between those who received insulin-providing drugs (87.9 percent) and those who received insulin-sensitizing drugs (88.2 percent). However, in the group that received bypass surgery, the rate of all major cardiovascular events (heart attacks, strokes and death) was significantly lower (22.4 percent) compared to those who received drug therapy alone (30.5 percent). This benefit appeared to be greatest in those who underwent bypass and received insulin-sensitizing drugs.

"We observed that patients with more severe heart disease did better over time when they received bypass early compared to those who received drug therapy alone," said Robert L. Frye, M.D., professor of cardiovascular medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and BARI 2D study chairman. "Those who underwent bypass surgery seemed to do particularly well on insulin-sensitizing drugs. Although this result is preliminary because we did not set out to answer this question with our study design."

"Overall, the BARI 2D results reassure us that our current major drug treatments for diabetes are equally appropriate," said Saul Genuth, M.D., director of the diabetes management center of BARI 2D and professor of medicine, Case Western Reserve University. "They also indicate that when a patient with type 2 has more severe it may be better to do bypass surgery early than to wait and simply treat with medication. For patients with milder disease who are candidates for angioplasty, it is appropriate to treat with drug therapy first."

Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences (news : web)

Explore further: US scientists make embryonic stem cells from adult skin

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bypass not to blame for heart patients' mental decline

May 19, 2008

Heart patients often experience lasting problems with memory, language, and other cognitive skills after bypass surgery. However, these problems aren’t caused by the surgery itself or the pump used to replace heart function ...

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...