High blood sugar lowers chances of surviving a heart attack

Patients with high blood sugar run an increased risk of dying if they have a heart attack, and diabetics are less likely to survive in-hospital cardiac arrest than non-diabetics, reveals research at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Diabetes is common among patients with coronary artery disease, and this is a potentially lethal combination: a thesis from the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy reveals that diabetes in coronary artery disease patients brings a significantly increased risk of premature death.
Smaller chance of surviving

Doctoral student and researcher Petur Petursson investigated the connection between blood sugar disorders and survival following heart attacks and cardiac arrest. His thesis shows that patients with diabetes have a smaller chance of surviving in-hospital cardiac arrest. Diabetes and pre-diabetes are also associated with a less favourable prognosis following coronary artery surgery.

“Type 2 diabetics with suspected coronary artery disease who are on insulin therapy have lower survival,” he explains. “We’ve not been able to demonstrate the exact cause, but much of it may be because those on insulin therapy have more severe disease.”
Need for careful management

Petur Petursson says that the results underline the need for careful management of patients with coronary artery disease and the importance of accurately diagnosing and managing blood sugar disorders.

“Medical personnel can pretty much assume that coronary artery disease patients will have some kind of blood sugar disorder, so there must be established strategies for managing these disorders at every heart clinic in the country.”

The thesis Aspects of Abnormal Glucose Regulation in Various Manifestations of Coronary Artery Disease was defended on 23 February.

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University of Gothenburgh