Diabetes mellitus (DM) is well known to be a coronary artery disease risk equivalent but the cellular mechanism is not completely understood. Recently, virtual histology intravascular ultrasound has demonstrated that patients with DM tend to have a higher occurrence of vulnerable plaques as compared with patients without DM. Insulin-sensitizing agents, such as metformin, have been shown to have limited cardioprotective effects, whereas thiazolidinediones, such as rosiglitazone, have been reported to have possible deleterious effects on cardiovascular mortality in a meta-analysis; however, limited data exist. In contrast, pioglitazone has been reported to have a significant benefit in patients with type 2 DM with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Animal and human studies have demonstrated the myocardial protective effects of incretins and hold promise in reducing the incidence of major adverse cardiac events in patients with DM. Moreover, in addition to aspirin, the early use of potent antiplatelet agents, such as prasugrel and intravenous glycoprotein IIb-IIIa inhibitors, in patients with DM presenting with ACS is crucial for reducing cardiovascular events in most patients. Thus, patients with DM deserve special attention in global risk factor reduction and development of newer therapeutic agents to improve glycemic control while minimizing or reducing cardiovascular events. This article focuses on ACS in patients with DM, the pathophysiology of "vulnerable blood" in patients with DM, and newer treatment strategies to improve outcomes in this high-risk patient population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine