We examined the relation between diabetes mellitus and outcomes in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary revascularization in the Coronary Angioplasty Versus Excisional Atherectomy Trial (CAVEAT-I), a randomized trial comparing treatment with either percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or directional atherectomy for de novo lesions in native coronary arteries. Acute success and complication rates, 6-month angiographic restenosis rates, and 1-year clinical outcomes were compared between diabetic and nondiabetic patients undergoing each procedure. Acute success rates between diabetic (n = 191) and nondiabetic (n = 821) patients were similar for both revascularization techniques. Except for the need for dialysis, complication rates were also similar. Six months after atherectomy, diabetic patients had significantly more angiographic restenosis than nondiabetics (59.7% vs 47.4%) and significantly smaller minimum luminal diameters (1.20 vs 1.40 mm). Diabetics undergoing atherectomy required more frequent bypass surgery (12.8% vs 8.5%) and more repeat percutaneous revascularizations (36.5% vs 28.1%) than nondiabetics undergoing atherectomy. Restenosis rates, minimum luminal diameters and repeat revascularizations between diabetics and nondiabetics undergoing angioplasty were similar. The higher restenosis and repeat revascularization rates and the smaller minimum luminal diameter at follow-up in diabetic patients suggest that atherectomy may provide only modest benefit for these patients. The increased restenosis rate in diabetics undergoing atherectomy (but not angioplasty) requires further evaluation.