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Heart Surgery in Diabetics – Impact and Management

Diabetes and heart diseases have a strong connection. Statistics show that adults are more likely to develop heart diseases if they have diabetes; with the American Heart Association considering diabetes to be one of the major factors responsible for cardiovascular diseases. The reason for this is that people with diabetes are very likely to have high blood pressure, and are more likely to be obese (because of slow metabolism). This may also mean lack of physical activity for some (which is one of the main reasons behind insulin resistance) and high cholesterol for others.

The sad truth of today is that both serious heart diseases and diabetes are extremely common among Indians, which means that many heart patients across the country are also diabetic. This complicates the treatment of heart ailments, especially heart surgery, in such people. The most common heart procedure most diabetics undergo is CABG (coronary artery bypass grafting). Research also states that diabetics face more problems post heart-surgeries than non-diabetics.


Some common complications associated with Heart surgeries in diabetics include:

  • Patients requiring Insulin are more likely to have a kidney failure
  • Diabetes patients need more medication before and post-surgery
  • Higher Chances of Heart Attacks and Strokes
  • Increased risk for Postoperative wound, chest and urine infection
  • Tuberculosis risk in elderly patients
  • Poor Diabetes management due to surgery
  • Prolonged intensive care after surgery
  • Problems regarding the choice of anesthetic

But all of this doesn’t mean that if you require a heart surgery, you should choose to suffer in silence. One can take necessary precautions to ensure that the surgery is carried out with minimum risk. Reading up on recent researches and studies can also give a patient more insight into the steps one can take to ensure most suitable treatment options. According to the Harvard Heart Letter, Bypass surgery is a better option for diabetics than angioplasty. Another research conducted by St. Michael’s Hospital also suggests that diabetics have a 30 percent lower mortality rate if they undergo coronary artery bypass surgery rather than angioplasty.

If one continues to eat healthily, maintain a proper lifestyle and finds a good surgeon, the surgery and recovery can be taken care of smoothly.

Read on Recovery After CABG.

Dr. V Hariharan Senior Consultant - Interventional Cardiology Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals
Dr. V Hariharan
Senior Consultant – Interventional Cardiology
Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals


This write-up was contributed to Credihealth by:

Dr. V Hariharan,  Consultant in the Department of Cardiology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.

Dr. V Hariharan is a Senior Cardiologist at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. He has been associated with the Interventional Cardiology department at the Apollo hospital since its inception. He finished his entire medical education from Pune and worked as a professor of Cardiology for at the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery Pune for 6 years. He then served for 25 years in the army before taking an early retirement. 

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