Coronary artery disease in patients with diabetes is frequently a diffuse process with multivessel involvement and is associated with increased risk for myocardial infarction and death. The role of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) versus coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) in patients with diabetes and multivessel disease who require revascularization has been debated and remains uncertain. The debate has been continued mainly because of the question to what degree an increased risk for in-stent restenosis among patients with diabetes contributes to other late adverse outcomes. This article reviews outcomes from early trials of balloon angioplasty versus CABG through later trials of bare-metal stents versus CABG and more recent data with drug-eluting stents as the comparator. Although not all studies have been powered to show statistical significance, the results have been generally consistent with a mortality benefit for CABG versus PCI, despite differential risks for restenosis with the various PCI approaches. The review also considers the impact of mammary artery grafting of the left anterior descending artery and individual case selection on these results, and proposes an algorithm for selection of patients in whom PCI remains a reasonable strategy.
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