Wednesday , December 13 2017
Home / Resources / Articles / Tight Blood Sugar Control May Not Be Needed for Heart Bypass

Tight Blood Sugar Control May Not Be Needed for Heart Bypass

Survival rates similar for those with looser glucose limits….

Some previous research has suggested that high blood sugar after bypass and other types of heart surgery was associated with increased risk of health problems and death, but more recent research has found that might not be the case.

This new study included heart bypass patients, with and without diabetes, who were randomly assigned to tight blood sugar control or less strict blood sugar control. As long as blood sugar levels were kept below 180 mg/dL, both groups of patients had similar survival rates while in the hospital recovering from surgery, the researchers found.

Both groups also had similar improvements in health-related quality of life six months after surgery, and the findings were the same for patients with and without diabetes.

“We hope that these results will encourage more hospitals to consider a less strict control of blood sugar in all patients after heart bypass surgery, which could reduce the chances for hypoglycemic [low blood sugar] events in the hospital, as well as secondary complications from drops in blood sugar,” study author Dr. A. Thomas Pezzella, of Inova Heart and Vascular Institute in Falls Church, Va., said in a journal news release.

Dr. Harold Lazar, of Boston Medical Center, said in an accompanying commentary, that, the results provide some reassurance to heart surgery patients, but one limitation of the study is that it reported only on survival.

“We don’t know if there were differences in cardiac-related issues, such as heart attacks, recurrent angina, need for repeat coronary revascularization procedures, or long-term readmissions for acute coronary syndromes,” Lazar noted.

“This is important for future research since many of these patients have other comorbid diseases that are not related to their heart,” he explained.

Practice Pearls:

  • Recent research shows that the risk of death is not increased with high blood sugars and bypass heart surgery.
  • This new study included heart bypass patients, with and without diabetes, who were randomly assigned to tight blood sugar control or less strict blood sugar control
  • The findings were the same for patients with and without diabetes.

Annals of Thoracic Surgery, news release, Oct. 1, 2014