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New Treatments To Aid Congestive Heart Failure

Nov 11, 2007
Heart disease is one of the deadliest killers in the world to date. Congestive heart failure, a condition found secondary to innumerable major cardiac diseases, possesses its own high mortality rate. Fifty percent of patients who are diagnosed with congestive heart failure will die within the five following years. Scientists and researchers have always had problems understanding the exact mechanisms of the disease, and to find a cure.

Congestive heart failure begins as the cells in the heart die or stop working attributable to an event like a myocardial infarction (a heart attack) or ischemic heart disease. Whatever the cause, the heart is subsequently ineffective pumping blood throughout the body, resulting in the blood pooling in the organs and fluid building up in and around the lungs as sodium is unable to be adequately excreted, causing dyspnea that is the classic symptom of congestive heart failure.

Clinical research is being targeted at the treatment of the disease and the possibility of repairing the damaged cells in the heart. Current research is underway to measure new medications that would lend a hand in vasodilation, also as a calcium inhibitor that would not producethe higher incidence of cardiac arrhythmia seen with the medications currently on the market.

In the age of natural medicine, the power of the mind has been invoked in clinical trials to apply meditation and relaxation techniques to battle the tension on the heart that can be the breaking point for patients with congestive heart failure. Tension has been shown to negatively affect the body's blood pressure forcing the heart to work harder and placing an undue amount of stress on a by this time feeble muscle.

The theory lies in the belief that by learning to maintain a low level of mental stress the heart will be less stressed and as a result less likely to fail completely, and the patient can be accorded a better prognosis.

Alongside the return to natural, holistic methods of treatment is an incredible advancement in clinical technology that was not available twenty or thirty years in the past. Scientists profess to have identified a set of altered genes that can cause a person to be more disposed to suffer from congestive heart failure and are using their current expertise of genes and the benefits of gene therapy in an effort to reverse the effect. In addition, medications to tamp down on the genes' actions, like beta blockers and alpha-2 agonists are by this time available and being used in treatment programs.

Also being explored is the possibility of using stem cells to aid in correction of the damaged heart tissue. Clinical trials showed that patients in distress from congestive heart failure responded very favorably to an injection of their own stem cells into the heart, and while the exact means by which this causes improvement is as yet unknown. It is suspected that these cells either facilitate the growth of new vessels in the heart or act as a type of beacon, attracting the body's own healing cells to the site of the harm and stimulating repair.

The possibility of growing healthy tissue from embryonic stem cells to be transplanted is also being explored, although the controversial nature of the employment of embryonic stem cells due to the compulsory destruction of the embryo makes this doubtful in the foreseeable future. Scientists have determined that adult stem cells just can't provide an adequate supply of new cells to meet the needs of patients who have suffered from congestive heart failure.

Congestive heart failure is incredibly dangerous insofar as the body cannot reproduce the dead tissue cells in the heart; all the same, with modern advancements it is the longing of researchers everywhere to one day find a cure.
About the Author
Mark has suffered with a congestive heart problem since 1994 and is now severely disabled. He now maintains a website for anyone who wants information on congestive heart problems.
More informative articles on Heart Disease are available here
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