objective: to investigate the risk factors for in-hospital death in diabetic patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (cabg). methods: we conducted a retrospective study with 305 consecutive diabetic patients undergoing cabg in the division of cardiovascular surgery of our institution from april 2004 to april 2010. univariate analysis for categorical variables was performed with the chi-square or fisher's exact test, as appropriate. potential risk factors with p <0.05 in the univariate analysis were included in the multivariate analysis, which was performed by backward logistic regression. values of p <0.05 were considered statistically significant. results: the study population had a mean age of 61.44 years (± 9.81) and 65.6% (n=200) were male. the in-hospital mortality rate was 11.8% (n=36). the following independent risk factors for death were identified: on-pump cabg (or 6.15, 95% ci 1.57 to 24.03, p=0.009) and low cardiac output in the postoperative period (or 34.17, 95% ci 10.46 to 111.62, p <0.001). the use of internal thoracic artery (ita) was an independent protective factor for death (or 0.27, 95% ci 0.08 to 0.093, p=0.038). conclusion: this study identified the following independent risk factors for death after cabg: on-pump cabg and low cardiac output syndrome. the use of ita was an independent protective factor.