Archive for August, 2009

MOUNT SINAI FIRST WITH NEW TECHNIQUE TO PREVENT A MAJOR CAUSE FOR HEART RELATED STROKE

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Successful procedure provides safe alternative for millions of patients who take blood thinners to treat atrial fibrillation

New York, NY - Physicians at The Mount Sinai Medical Center were the first in the country to perform a non-surgical procedure using sutures to tie off a left atrial appendage (LAA), which is the source of blood clots leading to stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib is the most common sustained heart-rhythm disorder in the United States.

The procedure was performed Wednesday by Vivek Y. Reddy, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Mount Sinai Heart, and his colleague, Srinivas R. Dukkipati, MD, Director of Mount Sinai’s Experimental Electrophysiology Laboratory. With the patient under general anesthesia, the physicians guided two catheters into the patient’s heart to seal the LAA with a pre-tied suture loop. The technique is a safe alternative to drug therapies such as the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) that can have serious side effects, as well as open-heart surgery, and more invasive implant surgery.

“People who take Coumadin because of atrial fibrillation include active and otherwise healthy people, as well as elderly people for whom the drug may be contraindicated,” said Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Chair of the American/European Guidelines of Atrial Fibrillation.

>>>>>Read the full Press Release in our HeartVigor.com News Page.

HEIDELBERG CARDIAC SURGEONS IMPLANT WORLD’S FIRST NEW DEBAKEY HEART ASSIST DEVICE

Monday, August 17th, 2009

New heart device is the smallest and lightest of all approved

At the end of July 2009, a team of cardiac surgeons headed by Professor Dr. Matthias Karck, Director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Heidelberg University Hospital, was the first in the world to implant the HeartAssist 5 ventricular assist device, the modern version of the DeBakey VAD. The device augments the pumping function of the left ventricle in an especially effective, gentle and quiet manner. The pump weighs 92 grams and is made of titanium and plastic. It pumps blood from the weakened or failed left ventricle into the aorta.

DeBakey Heart Assist
DeBakey Heart Assist Device
Photo: Micromed

“Following the 3.5 hour surgery, the patient is doing fine,” reports Professor Karck. The 50 year old woman suffered from heart failure that could not be effectively treated with medication. Since a heart transplant was not an option due to medical reasons, the implanted heart pump will now assist her heart permanently.

Bridging the waiting time for a heart transplant

“The heart pump can also be used as a bridge to transplant while the patient waits for a matching donor heart,” says Dr. Arjang Ruhparwar, senior registrar in the Department of Cardiac Surgery in Heidelberg. When a donor heart becomes available, the pump and the diseased heart are both removed and replaced by the new donor heart.

The DeBakey VAD was first developed in the 1990s in cooperation with NASA by Professor Michael DeBakey, the renowned American cardiac surgeon at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who died in 2008 at the age of 99. The modern version of the device, the HeartAssist 5, is manufactured by US company MicroMed Cardiovascular. It is considered to be a fifth generation VAD because it can be implanted adjacent to the heart and has an exclusive flow probe that provides direct, accurate measurement of blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. The new miniature device is light, easy-to-handle and can be monitored and controlled externally.

>>>>>Read the full Press Release in our HeartVigor.com News Pages.

BYPASSING BYPASS SURGERY

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

TAU grows new blood vessels to combat heart disease

Although open-heart surgery is a frequent treatment for heart disease, it remains extremely dangerous. Now groundbreaking research from Dr. Britta Hardy of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine has shown the potential for an injected protein to regrow blood vessels in the human heart - eliminating the need for risky surgery altogether.

Dr. Britta Hardy
Dr. Britta Hardy

In heart disease, blood vessels are either clogged or die off, starving the heart of oxygen and leaving it highly susceptible to a cardiac attack. Dr. Hardy and her research partner Prof. Alexander Battler have developed a protein-based injection that, delivered straight to muscles in the body, sparks the regrowth of tiny blood vessels. These new vessels in the heart could give millions of people around the world a new lease on life.

Research on the procedure was recently published in Biochemical Pharmacology.

A treatment without side effects or inflammation

“The biotechnology behind our human-based protein therapy is very complicated, but the goal is simple and the solution is straightforward,” says Dr. Hardy. “We intend to inject our drug locally to heal any oxygen-starved tissue. So far in animal models, we’ve seen no side effects and no inflammation following our injection of the drug into the legs. The growth of new blood vessels happens within a few weeks, showing improved blood circulation.”

>>>>>Read the full Press Release in our HeartVigor.com News Page.

RESEARCH LINKS SOCIAL STRESS TO HEART DISEASE

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - A new study done by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine shows that social stress could be an important precursor to heart disease by causing the body to deposit more fat in the abdominal cavity, speeding the harmful buildup of plaque in blood vessels, a stepping stone to the number one cause of death in the world. The findings could be an important consideration in the way the United States and other Western countries try to stem the rapid rise of obesity, said Carol A. Shively, Ph.D., a professor of pathology and the study’s principal investigator.

The study appears as the cover story of the current issue of Obesity, the peer-reviewed journal of the Obesity Society.

“We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic,” Shively said. “Much of the excess fat in many people who are overweight is located in the abdomen, and that fat behaves differently than fat in other locations. If there’s too much, it can have far more harmful effects on health than fat located in other areas.”

>>>>>Read the full Press Release in our HeartVigor.com News Page.