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You can't buy good health but you can buy good health information. Check out these newly released Special Health Reports from Harvard Medical School:

Bypass surgery better than angioplasty in people with diabetes and heart disease, from the April 2013 Harvard Heart Letter

Diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand. A big unanswered question for people who have both conditions is what procedure is best for severely blocked coronary arteries. The answer is bypass surgery, explains the April 2013 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

Results from the Future Revascularization Evaluation in People with Diabetes Mellitus (FREEDOM) trial showed that among people with diabetes and heart disease, rates of heart attack and death were lower five years after coronary artery bypass surgery than after artery-opening angioplasty plus stenting.

The FREEDOM results are important because doctors have been relying more heavily on angioplasty plus stenting in people with diabetes. Among recipients, angioplasty plus stenting is popular because the procedure is less painful than bypass surgery and has a much shorter recovery time. Doctors like it because it can be performed at the same time as diagnostic cardiac catheterization, the test that determines if arteries are blocked.

It’s convenient for specialists to think “as long as we are here, let’s fix this now,” rather than considering whether the long-term outlook might be improved more with surgery, says Dr. Thomas Lee, Co-Editor in Chief of the Harvard Heart Letter.

The results of the FREEDOM trial suggest that the long-term benefits of bypass surgery should trump the short-term convenience of angioplasty plus stenting.

Read the full-length article: "Bypass best for people with diabetes"

Also in this issue of the Harvard Heart Letter

  • Bypass best for people with diabetes
  • Ask the doctors: Can a low magnesium level cause an arrhythmia?
  • Ask the doctors: What can I do about varicose veins?
  • Building a better stent
  • Advice on using painkillers safely
  • Many treatment choices for leg pain
  • How thyroid hormone affects the heart
  • Digoxin useful … with restrictions
  • Promising news about heart failure
  • Tests to evaluate risk of heart attack
  • Heart beat: An egg a day may be A-okay
  • Heart beat: Overeating? Blame fructose
  • Heart beat: Aspirin after heart attack or stroke
  • Heart beat: It's never too late to quit smoking

More Harvard Health News »

About Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Publications publishes four monthly newsletters--Harvard Health Letter, Harvard Women's Health Watch, Harvard Men's Health Watch, and Harvard Heart Letter--as well as more than 50 special health reports and books drawing on the expertise of the 8,000 faculty physicians at Harvard Medical School and its world-famous affiliated hospitals.