Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Erectile dysfunction drug may benefit cardiac function in young patients with heart defects

Date:
May 8, 2012
Source:
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Summary:
Sildenafil, also known as the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, may give a boost to underdeveloped hearts in children and young adults with congenital heart defects.

Sildenafil, also known as the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, may give a boost to underdeveloped hearts in children and young adults with congenital heart defects. Researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia report that sildenafil significantly improved echocardiographic measures of heart function in children and young adult survivors of single ventricle heart disease palliation.

"Although researchers will need to evaluate clinical benefits over a longer period with a larger number of patients, this finding offers a potential advance in the management of patients with these types of heart defects," said study leader David J. Goldberg, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The study appeared online recently in the journal Pediatric Cardiology.

The researchers randomly assigned 27 children and young adults at Children's Hospital to receive either sildenafil or a placebo for six weeks. After a six-week break in treatment, the subjects were switched to the opposite treatment course. The study team used echocardiograms to measure myocardial performance index (MPI), an indicator of the heart's overall ability to pump blood.

The patients in this double-blind, short-term study, who had a mean age of 14.9 years, had undergone a Fontan operation in early childhood, a mean of 11.3 years previously. The Fontan surgery redirects blood circulation in patients born with a severely underdeveloped ventricle, one of the heart's two pumping chambers. The operation is the third in a staged series of surgeries for life-threatening single-ventricle defects.

Although surgical advances over the past 20 years have dramatically improved survival for single-ventricle defects, patients with the condition continue to have long-term illness and risk of early death. The staged surgeries do not recreate normal heart circulation, but instead redirect blood flowing from the veins directly to the lungs, bypassing the heart. However, blood vessels in the lungs develop resistance to this blood, often reducing a patient's ability to tolerate exercise.

Sildenafil, which reduces blood vessel resistance to the flow of blood, is already used to treat pulmonary hypertension (high blood press in lung vessels), as well as erectile dysfunction. Because sildenafil has also shown promise as a treatment for adults with heart failure, the Children's Hospital researchers are exploring whether it may benefit younger patients with certain types of congenital heart disease.

The current study is part of a broader phase 2 clinical trial at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Sildenafil After the Fontan Operation (SAFO) trial. A previous study from the same research team, published in March 2011, found improvements in exercise performance, as measured by ventilator efficiency, in children and young adults with single-ventricle disease who took sildenafil compared to those who took placebo.

The current study was the first to show that sildenafil improved echocardiographic measures of ventricular performance in children and young adults with single-ventricle physiology. The biological mechanisms that affect ventricular performance are not fully understood, said Goldberg, but he noted that studies in other patients with heart disease suggest that inhibiting the abnormally high levels of the enzyme phosphodiesterase E5 (PDE5) may produce the physiological benefits seen in the single-ventricle patients.

Goldberg cautioned that further research should be pursued to determine if the observed improvements in ventricular performance persist beyond the short term and if they provide clear quality-of-life benefits. "If sildenafil is safe over the medium and long-term, and if it produces durable functional improvements, patients with single-ventricle heart disease could have their first effective long-term treatment," he added.

Goldberg's co-authors were Anita L. Szwast, M.D., Michael G. McBride, Ph.D., Nicole Mirarchi, M.A., Brian D. Hanna, M.D., Ph.D., Gil Wernovsky, M.D., and Jack Rychik, M.D., all from Children's Hospital; Benjamin French, Ph.D., from the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania; and Bradley S. Marino, M.D., MSCE, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Grants from the Mark H. and Blanche M. Harrington Foundation and from Big Hearts to Little Hearts provided funding for this study. In addition, Goldberg received support from a National Institutes of Health grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David J. Goldberg, Benjamin French, Anita L. Szwast, Michael G. McBride, Bradley S. Marino, Nicole Mirarchi, Brian D. Hanna, Gil Wernovsky, Stephen M. Paridon, Jack Rychik. Impact of Sildenafil on Echocardiographic Indices of Myocardial Performance After the Fontan Operation. Pediatric Cardiology, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s00246-012-0196-9

Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Erectile dysfunction drug may benefit cardiac function in young patients with heart defects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508124455.htm>.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (2012, May 8). Erectile dysfunction drug may benefit cardiac function in young patients with heart defects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508124455.htm
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Erectile dysfunction drug may benefit cardiac function in young patients with heart defects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508124455.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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:
from the past week

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