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Rest could 'reverse' damage caused by heart failure

Rest could 'reverse' damage caused by heart failure
2nd April 2012

The damage caused to muscle cells after heart failure could be reversed by allowing the heart to rest, according to a new study at Imperial College London.

Researchers found in an animal study that the damage isn't permanent, as previously thought, but can in fact be repaired by resting the muscles in the heart.

This is incredibly significant and could lead to new treatment strategies for the condition, which leads to death in many cases.

Previously, patients that had experienced heart failure were often fitted with a left ventricle assist device (LVAD) - a small pump that reduces the strain placed on the left ventricle.

LVADs help the heart to rest, allowing muscles to recover following failure. Imperial researchers believe that understanding how this works at a cellular level is important.

Dr Cesare Terracciano, from the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI) at Imperial, who supervised the study, commented: "The heart can't afford to rest – it has to keep beating continuously. LVADs reduce the load on the heart while maintaining the supply of blood to the body, and this seems to help the heart recover."

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