With 113,000 deaths annually from coronary heart
disease, cardiac failure is now the most common cause of being
admitted acutely to hospital for the over 65s, and that's becoming
much more frequent.
As the University of Birmingham Medical School celebrates its
180th anniversary, it has published new research with
great potential to improve the treatment of chronic heart
The Medical School has been a major pioneer in cardiac research,
from the discovery of Digitallin as an effective heart treatment in
the 18th century, a treatment still used to day, through to the
development of the pacemaker in the 1950s and
In this latest discovery funded by the British Heart Foundation,
a team of researchers led by Professor Michael Frenneaux tested the
drug Perhexiline, formerly an angina treatment, on 56 patients with
Perhexiline alters the fuel that the heart uses to pump from
fatty acids to glucose (sugar) reducing the amount of oxygen the
heart needs in order to pump, making it much more efficient.
The study showed very significant improvements in heart
performance, it measured increased ability to pump blood during
exercise, and ultrasound scanning showed marked increases in the
ejection fraction of the heart-its ability to squeeze, as well as
improved quality of life reported by the patients.
If they can secure funding the next phase would be a larger
study, which also looked to see if the treatment also prolonged the
lives of cardiac patients.
Exteriors, University of Birmingham Medical School
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