Columbia study shows how doctors may manage blood glucose levels during heart surgery

October 24, 2005

NEW YORK/ATLANTA, October 24, 2005 - An anesthesiology research team at Columbia University Medical Center have completed the first human study to show that aprotinin, a protease inhibitor, was associated with lower blood glucose levels during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

The research presented today at the American Society of Anesthesiologists 2005 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga., showed that CABG patients receiving aprotinin had 24 percent lower blood glucose levels and a decrease in perioperative insulin resistance compared to patients not receiving aprotinin.

The association of aprotinin with reduced glucose levels during CABG surgery is an important finding for diabetic patients. Over a half million patients undergo cardiac surgery in the United States every year.[1] Among these patients, one third of them have diabetes and many others are likely to be obese or suffer from impaired glucose tolerance, which are often precursors to diabetes. [2],[3] For diabetic patients undergoing CABG surgery, abnormally high levels of blood glucose can lead to serious complications including cardiac disease, renal dysfunction, and retina damage as well as an increased risk of infections of up to 86 percent.[4]

For all patients undergoing CABG surgery - both with and without diabetes - elevated glucose levels during the surgery have also been associated with longer hospital stays and increased hospitalization costs.

"We are very enthusiastic about these results as our ultimate research goal is to study if aprotinin leads to better outcomes in diabetic patients undergoing CABG surgery," said Robert J. Frumento, Ph.D., lead investigator of the study and researcher at the department of anesthesiology at Columbia University Medical Center. "The next step will be to conduct a larger, randomized trial on non-diabetic patients before expanding studies to the more vulnerable diabetic patient population. We believe that aprotinin may hold the potential to be a standard of care for patients with diabetes undergoing this surgery."

Dr. Frumento and his team observed 96 non-diabetic CABG patients, divided into three groups: 28 received a full dose of aprotinin, 33 received a half dose, and 35 received no aprotinin. Blood was taken and analyzed at three intervals - after the patients received anesthesia, 30 minutes into CABG surgery, and after the surgery. Previous in vivo trials conducted by other researchers have repeatedly demonstrated the drug's effectiveness in reducing hyperglycemia in animals but this was the first study of its kind in humans.

The study led by Dr. Robert J. Frumento, "Effect of Aprotinin on Glucose Levels and Insulin Resistance in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery", was funded by the department of anesthesiology of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Frumento's research team includes Columbia University Medical Center investigators Sanford M. Littwin, M.D., assistant clinical professor of anesthesiology, and Jack S. Shanewise, M.D., professor of clinical anesthesiology and director of cardiothoracic anesthesia division. Elliott Bennett-Guerrero, M.D., former director of cardiac anesthesiology at Columbia University and who has since joined the Duke Clinical Research Institute, also contributed to the research.
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Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders in health care and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, nurses, dentists, and public health professionals at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the School of Dental & Oral Surgery, the School of Nursing, the Mailman School of Public Health, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center researchers are leading the discovery of novel therapies and advances to address a wide range of health conditions. www.cumc.columbia.edu

[1] MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Heart Bypass Surgery. April 13, 2004. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002946.htm. Accessed on October 12, 2005.
[2] Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) National Cardiac Database. 2005.
[3] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. National Diabetes Statistics. NIH Publication No. 05-3892. December 2004. Available at: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/#13. Accessed on October 12, 2005.
[4] Golden SH, Peart-Vigilance C, Kao WH, et al. Perioperative glycemic control and the risk of infectious complications in a cohort of adults with diabetes. Diabetes Care 1999;22:1408-14.

Columbia University Medical Center

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