Management of Acute Coronary Syndromes

Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee

Jean-Claude Tardif MD, FRCPC, FACC, FCAHS Phillipe L. L'Allier MD David H. Fitchett MD, FRCPC

  • Key Messages
  • Recommendations
  • Figures
  • Highlights
  • Full Text
  • References

Key Messages

  • Diabetes is an independent predictor of increased short- and long-term mortality, recurrent myocardial infarction (MI) and the development of heart failure in patients with acute MI (AMI).
  • Patients with an AMI and hyperglycemia should receive insulin-glucose infusion therapy to maintain blood glucose between 7.0 and 10.0 mmol/L for at least 24 hours, followed by strategies to achieve recommended glucose targets long term.
  • People with diabetes are less likely to receive recommended treatment, such as revascularization, thrombolysis, beta blockers or acetylsalicylic acid than people without diabetes. Efforts should be directed at promoting adherence to existing proven therapies in the high-risk patient with MI and diabetes.

Highlights of Revisions

  • A recommendation has been added for routine screening of all patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) for diabetes using either a fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin (A1C) or 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) prior to discharge from hospital.
  • The chapter highlights the importance of using the same effective strategies in ACS in people with diabetes as would be used in people without diabetes.
  • Recommendations have been added for specific antiplatelet therapy (prasugrel or ticagrelor) over clopidogrel in those with diabetes and ACS undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).


  1. 1.Patients with ACS should be screened for diabetes with a fasting blood glucose, A1C or 75 g OGTT prior to discharge from hospital [Grade D, Consensus].
  2. 2.All patients with diabetes and ACS should receive the same treatments that are recommended for patients with ACS without diabetes since they benefit equally [Grade D, Consensus].
  3. 3.Patients with diabetes and ACS undergoing PCI should receive antiplatelet therapy with prasugrel (if clopidogrel naïve, <75 years of age, weight >65 kg, and no history of stroke) [Grade A, Level 1 (1,2) ] or ticagrelor [Grade B, Level 1 (3,4) ], rather than clopidogrel, to further reduce recurrent ischemic events. Patients with diabetes and non-STE ACS and higher-risk features destined for a selective invasive strategy should receive ticagrelor rather than clopidogrel [Grade B, Level 2 (3,4)].
  4. 4.Patients with diabetes and non-STE ACS and high-risk features should receive an early invasive strategy rather than a selective invasive approach to revascularization to reduce recurrent coronary events, unless contraindicated [Grade B, Level 2 (5)].
  5. 5.In patients with diabetes and STE ACS, the presence of retinopathy should not be a contraindication to fibrinolysis [Grade B, Level 2 (6)].
  6. 6.In-hospital management of diabetes in ACS should include strategies to avoid both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia:
    • Blood glucose should be measured on admission and monitored throughout the hospitalization [Grade D, Consensus]
    • Patients with acute MI and blood glucose >11.0 mmol/L on admission may receive glycemic control in the range of 7.0 to 10.0 mmol/L, followed by strategies to achieve recommended glucose targets long term [Grade C, Level 2 (7,8) ]. Insulin therapy may be required to achieve these targets [Grade D, Consensus]. A similar approach may be taken in those with diabetes and admission blood glucose ≤11.0 mmol/L [Grade D, Consensus] (see In-hospital Management of Diabetes chapter, p. S316).
    • An appropriate protocol should be developed and staff trained to ensure the safe and effective implementation of this therapy and to minimize the likelihood of hypoglycemia [Grade D, Consensus].

A1C, glycated hemoglobin; ACS, acute coronary syndrome; OGTT, oral glucose tolerance test; PCI, percutaneous coronary intervention; STE, ST elevation.


  1. Wiviott SD, Braunwald E, McCabe CH, et al, TRITON-TIMI 38 Investigators. Prasugrel versus clopidogrel in patients with acute coronary syndromes. N Engl J Med 2007;357:2001-15.
  2. Wiviott SD, Braunwald E, Angiolillo DJ, et al, TRITON-TIMI 38 Investigators. Greater clinical benefit of more intensive oral antiplatelet therapy with prasugrel in patients with diabetes mellitus in the trial to assess improvement in therapeutic outcomes by optimizing platelet inhibition with prasugrel-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 38. Circulation 2008;118:1626-36.
  3. Cannon CP, Harrington RA, et al. Comparison of ticagrelor with clopidogrel in patients with a planned invasive strategy for acute coronary syndromes (PLATO): a randomised double-blind study. Lancet 2010;375:283-93.>
  4. James S, Angiolillo DJ, Cornel JH, et al. Ticagrelor vs. clopidogrel in patients with acute coronary syndromes and diabetes: a substudy from the PLATelet inhibition and patient Outcomes (PLATO) trial. Eur Heart J 2010;31:3006-16.
  5. O’Donoghue ML, Vaidya A, Afsal R, et al. An invasive or conservative strategy in patients with diabetes mellitus and non-st-segment elevation acute coronary syndromes: a collaborative meta-analysis of randomized trials. J Am Coll Cardiol 2012;60:106-11.
  6. Mahaffey KW, Granger CB, Toth CA, et al. Diabetic retinopathy should not be a contraindication to thrombolytic therapy for acute myocardial infarction: review of ocular hemorrhage incidence and location in the GUSTO-I trial. Global Utilization of Streptokinase and t-PA for Occluded Coronary Arteries. J Am Coll Cardiol 1997;30:16-10.
  7. Malmberg K. Prospective randomised study of intensive insulin treatment on long term survival after acute myocardial infarction in patients with diabetes mellitus. DIGAMI (Diabetes Mellitus, Insulin Glucose Infusion in Acute Myocardial Infarction) Study Group. BMJ 1997;314:1512-5.
  8. Malmberg K, Ryden L, Wedel H, et al. Intense metabolic control by means of insulin in patients with diabetes mellitus and acute myocardial infarction (DIGAMI 2): effects on mortality and morbidity. Eur Heart J 2005;26:650-61.


Reproduced with permission from Canadian Journal of Diabetes © 2013 Canadian Diabetes Association. To cite this article, please refer to For citation.

*The Canadian Diabetes Association is the registered owner of the name Diabetes Canada. All content on, CPG Apps and in our online store remains exactly the same. For questions, contact