Largest ever study of killer heart condition which could affect up to 260,000 people in UK

April 27, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: March 2018

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: There is fresh hope for hundreds of thousands of people in the UK with the potentially deadly heart condition dilated cardiomyopathy. We at the British Heart Foundation are investing over £2 million on the largest ever study of this poorly-understood disease.

DCM is a condition that stretches and thins the heart muscle so it becomes ‘baggy’ and is unable to pump blood around the body efficiently. It is estimated to affect up to 260,000 (1 in 250) people in the UK and is the leading cause of heart transplantation.

Additionally, a staggering 650,000 (1 in 100) people in the UK risk developing the condition due to a common mutation in the titin protein. This mutation predisposes the heart to developing DCM when it is placed under stress such as pregnancy, some cancer treatments and possibly other stresses like alcohol abuse. Development of the condition puts people at greater risk of sudden death, and can also lead to heart failure. After coronary heart disease, DCM is the leading cause of heart failure.

Currently DCM is very poorly understood, with most causes unknown and poor outcomes for patients – research suggests that 15% of patients do not survive beyond 5 years after diagnosis, and up to half of deaths occur within the first 2 years of diagnosis.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation

 


Scientists to test new treatment for heart valve disease

April 27, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: April 2018

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: Scientists at the University of Oxford are set to test a new way of treating people with aortic stenosis. Dr Masliza Mahmod has been awarded £290,000 by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to carry out a pilot study in patients with the debilitating condition.

Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve. This limits the flow of blood through the valve into the aorta – the large artery that transports oxygen rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. This forces the heart to work harder in order to pump blood around the body.

Typically, people with severe aortic stenosis experience shortness of breath and find it harder to exert themselves physically. If the valve becomes too narrowed, patients need surgery to replace the diseased valve.

Previous research has shown that people with the condition can have excessive fat deposits in their heart muscle – known as cardiac steatosis. This fat is toxic to the heart muscle and prevents it from pumping as powerfully as needed.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Hormone imbalance causes treatment-resistant hypertension

April 27, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: April 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: Researchers have discovered a hormone imbalance that explains why it is very difficult to control blood pressure in around 10 per cent of hypertension patients. The team at Queen Mary University of London, found that the steroid hormone ‘aldosterone’ causes salt to accumulate in the bloodstream. The salt accumulation occurs even in patients on reasonable diets and pushes up blood pressure despite use of diuretics and other standard treatments.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


New research gives hope of better treatments for thousands living with deadly condition

April 27, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: April 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have found a new target for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The research could lead to treatments for this life changing condition with no cure.

PAH is a serious condition that causes high blood pressure in the blood vessels between the heart and the lungs. It leaves sufferers weak and short of breath and can lead to heart failure. There is no cure and treatments are limited to trying to treat the symptoms. Current drugs for PAH can themselves have drastic side effects like nausea, limb-pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Around 6,500 people in the UK have PAH.

Professor Mark Evans and his team have found a new target that could lead to better treatments for PAH. The research is available online in Science Signalling. By studying muscle cells from pulmonary arteries in mice, and clones of human cells, the team have been able to show that they can use the existing treatments for PAH to regulate a new calcium channel, called TPC2. How these drugs work against the condition has been hotly debated as they were initially designed for other targets. Using them as a template to develop new drugs could speed up the road to new specific treatments for PAH.

Professor Mark Evans who led the study said: “Our research suggests that drugs already used to treat PAH, like nifedipine and rapamycin, could be made much, much better by exploiting our discovery that they interact with the TPC2 channel.”

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Even moderate drinking linked to heart and circulatory diseases

April 27, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: April 2018

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: Regularly drinking more than the recommended UK guidelines for alcohol could take years off your life, according to new research that we part-funded published today in the Lancet. The study shows that drinking more alcohol is associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and death.

The authors say their findings challenge the widely held belief that moderate drinking is beneficial to cardiovascular health and support the UK’s recently lowered guidelines.

The study compared the health and drinking habits of around 600,000 current drinkers in 19 countries worldwide and controlled for age, smoking, history of diabetes, level of education and occupation.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation