Seniors with diabetes and angina whoundergo surgery to open up blocked arteriesdo just as well as patients without diabetes.These findings were based on astudy of 301 patients (69 with diabetes) 75and older with symptomatic coronaryartery disease. During the 4 years of theirstudy, the investigators examined the differencein outcome between the 2 groups.
Reporting in the American Journal ofCardiology (July 15, 2005), the researchersfound that patients with diabetes had morehypertension, risk factors, and previousheart failure and heart attacks, comparedwith the control group. Both groups, however,had an overall survival rate of 61% withoutrevascularization (surgery or angioplastyto restore blood flow to the heart muscle),compared with 79% with revascularization.
Senior investigator Mathias E. Pfisterer,MD, said, "Elderly patients and their physiciansmay choose either an invasive strategy?or a medical strategy with a similarlong-term outcome." He noted that bothoptions have pros and cons. Heart surgeryprovides "early symptom relief and improvementin well-being" but is costly. On the flipside, medical management entails "moredrugs and a greater than 50% chance of theneed for late revascularization."