Influence of Type 2 Diabetes on Functional and Structural Properties of Coronary Artery Bypass Conduits

Lorusso R1, Pentiricci S1, Raddino R2, Scarabelli TM2, Zambelli C3, Villanacci V3, Burattin A4, Romanelli G4, Casari S5, Scelsi R6, Giustina A4 

1 Cardiac Surgery Division, Civic Hospital, Brescia, Italy
2 Cardiology Division, Civic Hospital, Brescia, Italy
3 Pathology Division, Civic Hospital, Brescia, Italy
4 Internal Medicine (Endocrine Section) Division, Civic Hospital, Brescia, Italy
5 Infective Disease (Statistics Unit) Division, Civic Hospital, Brescia, Italy
6 Pathology Division, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy 

Recent studies have reported a high incidence of postoperative unfavorable cardiac-related events in patients with diabetes who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Structural and functional characteristics of CABG conduits, which have been shown to play an important role in patient outcome after myocardial revascularization, have not been fully investigated in diabetic subjects. Therefore, we sought to determine the influence of adult-onset diabetes on vasoreactivity and morphological profile of venous and arterial grafts. Of the 160 consecutive patients enrolled in the study, 90 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 70 did not have diabetes (control group). All patients underwent evaluation of glucose control before surgery. Tissue specimens were collected from left internal thoracic artery (LITA) and saphenous vein (SV) grafts harvested during elective CABG. Functional tests were performed to assess contractile and vasodilative responses of bypass conduits. Histological evaluation was carried out to examine vessel wall structure. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to correlate the preoperative factors related to the control of the endocrine disorder with histological findings. Patient medical history and demographics did not differ between the groups. Diabetic patients showed significant microalbuminuria and higher plasma levels of C-peptide and GHb as compared with nondiabetic subjects. Functional tests of the LITA segments revealed no difference between groups with regard to contractile and vasodilative responses. In contrast, significant impairment in the endothelium-related vasodilation of the SV grafts was observed in diabetic subjects. Histological studies showed structural preservation of the arterial conduits in both groups. However, marked intimal abnormalities (also atherosclerotic calcified plaques) were detected in SV grafts harvested from diabetic patients. Logistic regression analysis showed that high levels of proteinuria and GHb were independent predictors of advanced structural degeneration of SV conduits. Treatment modality, duration of diabetes, and other demographic or metabolic factors were found to have no influence on the morphological characteristics of SV conduits. In conclusion, biological properties of LITA conduits for CABG were preserved in diabetic patients. However, these patients frequently showed impairment of the endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation and intimal degeneration of SV grafts. The extent of structural abnormalities of SV grafts was inversely correlated with the efficacy of the metabolic control of the endocrine disorder. Further studies are required to conclusively correlate preoperative SV graft abnormalities with postoperative conduit patency rate and the occurrence of adverse cardiac-related events in diabetic subjects. 


Lorusso R, Pentiricci S, Raddino R, et al. Influence of Type 2 Diabetes on Functional and Structural Properties of Coronary Artery Bypass Conduits. Diabetes. 2003;52:2814-2820. 

Last Modified: 2/4/2013