Intensive insulin therapy could prolong life after heart attack in type 2 diabetics

In the first study of its kind, researchers from Sweden found intensive insulin treatment prolonged the lives of type-2 diabetic patients who had suffered heart attacks.

The trial, which started in 1990, involved 620 patients with type 2 diabetes. When the patients were admitted to the hopsital with a suspected heart attack, they were either given intensive insulin treatment or standard glucose-lowering treatment for one year. Researchers hoped to determine whether the difference in treatment could affect mortality in the long run.

Patients who received the insulin treatment were given an insulin-glucose infusion for at least 24 hours, followed by insulin injections four times a day for at least three months.

Intensive insulin treatment benefited patients

The trial showed that patients who had received the intensive insulin treatment survived about 2.3 years longer than those who received the standard treatment. Most of the patients, who were followed for up to 20 years after the trial, had died.

"Patients who were at low cardiovascular risk (less than 70 years old, no history of heart attack or congestive heart failure) and had not previously had insulin therapy when the trial started seemed to benefit the most from intensive insulin treatment," a press release on the study stated.

And while the study shows a positive association between insulin treatment after a heart attack and mortality in type 2 diabetics, the authors are careful to say the effects probably would have been different if the study had been conducted today, not starting in the '90s.

"Compared with 1990 ... there have been many advances in conventional treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications, such as more frequent use of medication to lower cholesterol (statins) and blood pressure (angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors)," the press release concluded.

Source: The Lancet
Photo credit: antpkr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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