Cardiovascular drug may improve heart failure and help prevent sudden death

11/15/05

NEW YORK Nov. 16, 2005 Research shows that Carvedilol, a cardiovascular drug, could be useful in reducing cardiac death in high risk patients with prior myocardial infarction and/or heart failure and also in reducing the incidence and/or preventing the occurrence of atrial fibrillation in a number of clinical situations. A review of this research is published in the journal Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology.

Carvedilol possesses electrophysological properties that affect a variety of ionic currents that may result in a significant anti-arrhythmic action. Compared to other drugs in the same class, researchers say Carvedilol may have the right combination of pharmacological properties to reduce cardiac death, and reduce or prevent the incidence of atrial fibrillation, a major disorder of the cardiac rhythm. Future confirmation of this position could change the way physicians manage patients at high risk for sudden cardiac death.

Currently, the only effective management of these patients is to implant a device known as an implantable cardiovertor defibrillator (ICD). The device can automatically detect an abnormal rhythm and deliver an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm. Unfortunately, the device has several side effects that reduce the patient's quality of life and is extremely costly. Only a fraction of those patients who may be deemed eligible for such a device will receive it.

According to the American Heart Association's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2005 update, over 70,000,000 Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease; over seven million have suffered from myocardial infarction.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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