Objectives: To test the hypothesis that intensive metabolic treatment with insulin-glucose infusion followed by multidose insulin treatment in patients with diabetes mellitus and acute myocardial infarction improves the prognosis.
Design: Patients with diabetes mellitus and acute myocardial infarction were randomly allocated standard treatment plus insulin-glucose infusion for at least 24 hours followed by multidose insulin treatment or standard treatment (controls).
Subjects: 620 patients were recruited, of whom 306 received intensive insulin treatment and 314 served as controls.
Main outcome measure: Long term all cause mortality.
Results: The mean (range) follow up was 3.4 (1.6-5.6) years. There were 102 (33%) deaths in the treatment group compared with 138 (44%) deaths in the control group (relative risk (95% confidence interval) 0.72 (0.55 to 0.92); P = 0.011). The effect was most pronounced among the predefined group that included 272 patients without previous insulin treatment and at a low cardiovascular risk (0.49 (0.30 to 0.80); P = 0.004).
Conclusion: Insulin-glucose infusion followed by intensive subcutaneous insulin in diabetic patients with acute myocardial infarction improves long term survival, and the effect seen at one year continues for at least 3.5 years, with an absolute reduction in mortality of 11%. This means that one life was saved for nine treated patients. The effect was most apparent in patients who had not previously received insulin treatment and who were at a low cardiovascular risk.