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Even Well-Controlled Diabetes May Present Post-Surgery Risk
Date:10/18/2010

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- People with diabetes who had normal blood sugar levels before non-heart surgery had a higher risk of death in the year following surgery compared to people without diabetes, researchers have found.

And, patients who hadn't been diagnosed with diabetes but had high blood sugar readings before surgery had a higher risk of death in the year after a surgical procedure compared to people with lower blood sugar readings, they noted.

"When we looked at blood sugar levels and the likelihood of complications after surgery, we didn't see a significant difference between diabetics and non-diabetics. But, when we looked at the long-term outcomes, we found significant differences between diabetics and non-diabetics," said Dr. Basem Abdelmalak, director of anesthesia for bronchoscopic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Findings from the study were scheduled to be presented Monday at the Anesthesiology 2010 meeting in San Diego.

The researchers collected information from one preoperative blood test to assess fasting blood sugar levels before 61,536 non-cardiac surgeries. Abdelmalak said the surgeries were varied, and included all surgeries that weren't related to the heart.

From this large sample, about 16 percent of the surgical patients had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The average age of the patient population overall was 57, according to Abdelmalak. The average age of the non-diabetic patient was 56, and the diabetic group was slightly older, with an average age of 63, he said.

The researchers compared the one preoperative blood sugar reading to short- and long-term postoperative complications and death.

The investigators found that people with diabetes had between an 8 percent and 11 percent risk of dying in the year following surgery. But those with lower blood sugar levels before surgery -- in the range of ab
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