Mutant protein linked to heart failure

A rare case of familial heart failure has shown that a loss of calcium regulation in heart cells may directly cause this hereditary form of the disease. The researchers who studied the case, from the Harvard Medical School lab of Christine Seidman, professor of medicine, and Jonathan Seidman, the Bugher Foundation professor of genetics, developed transgenic mice for their work that now offer a model for further investigation of heart failure and calcium signaling. The study, led by research fellow Joachim Schmitt and published in the Feb. 28 Science, suggests a specific protein target for future heart disease therapies.

ACE inhibitor drug reduces heart failure in high-risk patients

The drug ramipril significantly reduced the onset of debilitating and often-fatal heart failure in a large group of high-risk patients, researchers report in today’s rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Ramipril, trade-named Altace, is one of a family of high blood pressure medications known as ACE inhibitors. The drugs reduce the risk of death from heart failure ? the inability of a weakened or damaged heart to pump enough blood through the body ? in people who suffer heart attacks. The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 5 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure.

Sleep apnea may be a cause, rather than just an effect, of heart failure

An interruption in normal breathing patterns during sleep which is often seen in heart failure patients may contribute to heart failure rather than just being a result, according to findings of a Mayo Clinic study.
“We are now finding that central sleep apnea, which has been previously understood as a symptom of heart failure, may contribute to the development of heart failure in people at risk,” said the study’s lead researcher.