Coronary artery bypass grafting in type II diabetic patients: a comparison between insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent patients at short- and mid-term follow-up

Nicola Luciani, Giuseppe Nasso, Mario Gaudino, Antonio Abbate, Franco Glieca, Francesco Alessandrini, Fabiana Girola, Filippo Santarelli, Gianfederico Possati
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2003, 76 (4): 1149-54

BACKGROUND: Diabetes is a well-established risk factor for coronary artery disease, and it is associated with an increased rate of early and late adverse events after myocardial revascularization by coronary artery bypass grafting.

METHODS: A prospective follow-up study was done to evaluate the short-term and mid-term outcomes of type II diabetic patients who had coronary artery bypass grafting at our institution between 1996 and May 1999. A total of 200 patients, 100 insulin-dependent diabetic patients (group I) and 100 non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients (group II), met the inclusion criteria of the study and were included in the clinical follow-up study.

RESULTS: The characteristics of the patients of the two groups were similar for baseline clinical angiographic and operative characteristics. In particular, no significant differences in cardiopulmonary bypass and aortic cross-clamping times were noted between the two groups. The number grafts per patient was similar between the two groups. There were no in-hospital deaths, but postoperative complications were different among the two series. In fact, 33% of patients in group I had at least one major complication compared with 20% in group II (p = 0.037). The cumulative number of complications was 148 in group I and 69 in group II, and the mean number of complications per patient was 4.5 and 3.5 in groups I and II, respectively. The major differences in perioperative complication rates were found in the need for prolonged (> 24 hours) ventilation, occurrence of respiratory or renal insufficiency, and mediastinitis. The mean length of stay in the intensive care unit and for total hospitalization were longer in group I than group II (4.3 +/- 2.8 days versus 2.8 +/- 2.7 days [p = 0.010] and 11.1 +/- 2.2 days versus 7.2 +/- 2.4 group II [p < 0.05], respectively). At long-term follow-up, group I patients had a significantly higher mortality rate (29% versus 10%, p < 0.001). Moreover, overall late cardiac and noncardiac complication rates were significantly higher in group I than II (37% versus 22%, p = 0.02). In the multivariate analysis including several preoperative and operative variables, treatment by insulin, advanced age (> 75 years), left ventricular dysfunction (left ventricular ejection fraction < 35%), and complex lesions at coronary angiography (American Heart Association lesion classification type C lesion) were found as independent predictors of increased mortality.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that patients with insulin-dependent type II diabetes who had coronary artery bypass grafting have a significantly higher rate of major postoperative complications with an extremely unfavorable short- and long-term prognosis. Diabetic patients on insulin treatment should be considered high-risk candidates for coronary artery bypass grafting and require intense perioperative and long-term monitoring. Further studies will be necessary to investigate whether such conclusions may be appropriate for newer surgical strategies such as off-pump operation.

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