For people with diabetes, heart disease is one of the most serious complications. And people with heart disease and partially blocked arteries often are candidates for preventing a heart attack. the choices for now are doing open heart surgery and bypassing the blocked artery by removing it and sewing in a segment of vein from the person’s leg, or threading a catheter into the person’s coronary artery and keeping the narrow section open with a stent.
To find out which procedure works best for patients with diabetes, the researchers in the FREEDOM STUDY studies 1,900 patients with at least 70% narrowing of two or more coronary arteries who were randomly assigned to either have open-heart surgery or receive a stent.
Those patients who had the open heart surgery were 30% to either die or have a heart attack or stroke than those who had a stent placed.
These study findings applied specifically to the 200,000 patients with diabetes who have arterial disease in more than one coronary artery.
These results were just presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Heart Association and appeared in the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Although the open heart surgery is a bigger procedure than putting in a stent, the findings in this study make it clear that for now, people with diabetes and heart disease live longer and better with coronary artery bypass surgery than with the placement of a stent.
To learn more about silent heart attacks in women, watch my interview with Puja Mehta, MD, Cardiologist from the Barbra Streisand Heart Center at Cedars Sinai Hospital.