Synchronizing a failing heart

OTTAWA — November 14, 2010 — One of the largest, most extensive worldwide investigations into heart failure, led by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI), conclusively proves that a new therapeutic implant synchronizes and strengthen…

Mechanical Support Induces Genetic Changes in Failing Hearts

Using new DNA microarray technology, researchers have found significant changes in the expression pattern of hundreds of genes in heart muscle cells after mechanical pumps are used to take over from failing hearts. This finding represents a first step, they say, in a line of research that could help predict how heart failure patients will respond when supported by a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). These devices are employed when the heart’s left ventricle — the chamber of the heart that pumps blood throughout the body — is too weak to pump enough blood to nourish the body’s tissues. They have been used as successful short-term “bridges to heart transplant” and are increasingly being considered as long-term heart failure destination therapy, also known as “bridge to recovery.”

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.

Device acts as heart’s security system

Heart failure patients at the Ohio State University Heart Center may be seeing less of their doctors. And the doctors couldn’t be happier. A group of patients is testing a first-of-its-kind implantable monitor that transmits critical data from their heart over the telephone, eliminating travel to the doctor’s office for the same type of monitoring. Proven successful, the experimental device could herald a major breakthrough for the growing number of people diagnosed with heart failure. Those living with heart failure could enjoy an improved lifestyle with less dependency on frequent doctor visits, and for cardiac researchers it might be the most advanced bellwether device yet for detecting heart problems at their earliest stages.

One in Four have Precursor to Heart Failure

More than one-fourth of adults over age 45 have abnormalities in the way their heart fills with blood and are at significantly increased risk for premature death, according to results of a study of 2,042 randomly selected residents of Olmsted County, Minn. The study is published in the Jan. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).