Intense Insulin Therapy May Improve Survival Rates for Diabetes Patients After Heart Attack

Published Online: Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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Intensive insulin therapy to achieve glycemic control may increase the lifespan of diabetes patients after a heart attack, the results of study conducted in Sweden suggest.

The study, published online on May 13, 2014, in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, analyzed the outcomes of patients who had been admitted to 19 Swedish hospitals for myocardial infarction from 1990 to 1993. Upon admission, patients were randomly assigned to receive either intensified insulin-based glycemic control for at least 3 months or conventional glucose-lowering treatment.

After an average follow-up period of 7.3 years, 89% of patients who received the intense insulin therapy had died, versus 91% of those in the standard treatment group. The median survival time for patients treated with the intensified therapy was 7 years, versus 4.7 years in control group patients. After 8 years, the intensified insulin therapy showed a significant effect, increasing survival by 2 to 3 years.

The authors of the study note that although the results showed the therapy improved survival, the benefits might not have been as significant if the study had been conducted more recently due to advancements in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

“Although the effect of glucose lowering might be less apparent with presently available, more effective lipid-lowering and blood pressure–lowering drugs, improved glycemic control might still be important for longevity after acute myocardial infarction,” they concluded.

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