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Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 00:18 GMT
Super-aspirin 'cuts diabetic deaths'

emergency Diabetics more likely to suffer heart attacks


Diabetics have a better chance of survival if they are treated with the so-called super-aspirin after heart surgery, say researchers.

Complications and death rates were found to fall for diabetics when use of the drug was combined with stenting - a procedure where small metal cylinders are placed inside a heart artery.

The super-aspirin - abciximab - prevents blood clots, which obstruct blood flow and can cause heart attacks.



This study is the first to demonstrate that the drug combined with stent implantation reduces re-blockage of arteries specifically in diabetics
Dr Steven Marso
In a study carried out by Dr Steven Marso, a fellow of the Mid America Heart Institute at St Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, the re-blockage rate following balloon angioplasty surgery was halved for patients who received stents and super-aspirin.

Those patients had an eight per cent chance of re-blockage within six months of having the operation, which opens blocked arteries.

"The stent-abciximab combination brought down the re-blockage rate in the diabetic heart patients to about the same level as heart patients without diabetes," said Dr Marso.

"Previous studies have shown that abciximab reduces the heart attack and death rate in a variety of heart patients following balloon angioplasty. However, this latest study is the first to demonstrate that the drug combined with stent implantation reduces re-blockage of arteries specifically in diabetics."

Heart disease

Two-thirds of people with diabetes have some form of heart or blood vessel disease and they are more likely to experience re-blockage of heart arteries following balloon angioplasty and to consequently suffer heart attacks.

The abciximab was delivered intravenously around the time of the procedure and then for 12 hours afterwards, according to the study published in Circulation - Journal of the American Heart Association. Less than two per cent suffered side effects such as bleeding or low platelet counts.

Rury Holman, professor in diabetic medicine at Oxford University, welcomed the results of the study as being useful for diabetics.

He said: "We don't know exactly why diabetics should have such a poor response - people with diabetes have two to four times the heart disease of normal people, and that seems to extend into the post-stenting period.

"Aspirin is fairly palatable and would be a good, cheap option if it works. If the data shows that, that is very interesting."
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See also:
11 Nov 99 |  Health
Taking the needle out of diabetes
30 Apr 99 |  Health
Action needed to prevent premature diabetes deaths
12 Jan 99 |  Health
Centre offers hope for diabetics
09 Feb 99 |  Medical notes
Diabetes: The facts
01 Sep 99 |  Health
Heart drug 'could save one million lives'
13 Oct 99 |  Health
Warning over looming diabetes 'crisis'

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