Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanical 'Artificial Hearts' Can Remove Need For Heart Transplant By Returning Heart To Normal

Date:
November 2, 2006
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Mechanical "artificial hearts" can be used to return severely failing hearts to their normal function, potentially removing the need for heart transplantation, according to new research. The mechanical devices, known as Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs), are currently used in patients with very severe heart failure whilst they await transplantation. The new study shows that using an LVAD combined with certain drug therapies can shrink the enlarged heart and enable it to function normally once the LVAD is removed.

LVADs work by being connected to the left ventricle, either directly or by a tube. They remove oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle and take it to a pump. This pumps the blood to another tube connected to the aorta.
Credit: Image courtesy of Imperial College London

Mechanical 'artificial hearts' can be used to return severely failing hearts to their normal function, potentially removing the need for heart transplantation, according to new research.

Related Articles


The mechanical devices, known as Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs), are currently used in patients with very severe heart failure whilst they await transplantation. The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that using an LVAD combined with certain drug therapies can shrink the enlarged heart and enable it to function normally once the LVAD is removed.

For the study, researchers from Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust gave the full combination therapy to 15 severely ill patients. Of these 15, 11 recovered. Of these, 88 percent were free from recurrence of heart disease five years later. Their quality of life was measured as being at nearly normal.

Dr Emma Birks, from the Heart Science Centre at Imperial and the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, and lead author of the study, said: "Donor heart transplant has for many years been the gold standard in the treatment of those with severe heart failure. It has proven greatly successful but is not without its shortcomings -- particularly the shortage of donor hearts and the risk of organ rejection.

"This therapy has the potential to ease the pressure on the waiting list while also offering patients a better alternative to a donor heart -- their own, healthy heart," she added.

Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, from the Heart Science Centre at Imperial and the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, said: "We are impressed by the dramatic, sustained improvement in the condition of these severely ill patients and we believe that this is due to the additive effects of the particular combination therapy used. The improvement observed was far greater than what has been reported to date for any other therapy in patients with severe, but less advanced, forms of heart failure.

"The study also highlights the fact that 'end stage' heart failure can be reversed and that the heart has the capacity to regenerate itself. It therefore stimulates the search for other strategies and more therapeutic targets in this expanding field of regenerative therapy," he added.

LVADs are currently mainly used in those patients awaiting heart transplant, whose heart failure is very severe. The researchers are hopeful that the technique used in this study could also be used to restore heart function amongst heart patients who are not awaiting transplants.

LVADs work by being connected to the left ventricle of the heart, either directly or by a tube. They remove oxygen rich blood from the left ventricle and take the blood to a mechanical pump. The mechanical pump then pumps the oxygen rich blood into another tube which is connected to the aorta. Once blood is in the aorta, it can be transported to the rest of the body.

Patients were treated with drugs which encourage reverse remodelling of the heart, prevent atrophy and prevent the heart from shrinking beyond its desirable size. The drugs used were lisinopril, carvedilol, spironolactone and losartan in the first stage of treatment and bisoprolol and clenbuterol in the second.

The next step for the researchers is a larger multi-centre trial named the Harefield Recovery Protocol (HARP) study, which is envisaged to start soon on both sides of the atlantic. The researchers are also continuing their molecular and cellular research and studying the mechanistic and therapeutic targets which have made the recovery observed in this study possible.

The research was funded by Thoratec, the Royal Brompton and Harefield Charitable Trustees, the British Heart Foundation, and the Magdi Yacoub Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Mechanical 'Artificial Hearts' Can Remove Need For Heart Transplant By Returning Heart To Normal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061102092514.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2006, November 2). Mechanical 'Artificial Hearts' Can Remove Need For Heart Transplant By Returning Heart To Normal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061102092514.htm
Imperial College London. "Mechanical 'Artificial Hearts' Can Remove Need For Heart Transplant By Returning Heart To Normal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061102092514.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins