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"