Pacemaker could help more heart failure patients

October 5, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—A new study from Karolinska Institutet demonstrates that a change in the ECG wave called the QRS prolongation is associated with a higher rate of heart-failure mortality. According to the team that carried out the study, which is published in the scientific periodical The European Heart Journal, the discovery suggests that more heart-failure cases than the most serious could be helped by pacemakers.

, which takes a multitude of forms, is one of the most common causes of hospitalisation and death in the West. While there are several effective treatments for weakened contractility, there is as yet no tried and tested method for treating the reduced ability of the heart muscles to relax.

In the present study, a team comprising researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Linköping University, Stockholm South General (Söder) Hospital and Karolinska University Hospital identified these two types of heart failure using data from the Swedish Heart Failure Registry. Their results show that a particular change in the ECG wave (which reflects the hearts ) is associated with a higher mortality rate amongst . The anomaly, called the QRS prolongation (QRS being the characteristic peak-trough deflections of the ECG), indicates that the left and right sides of the heart are not cooperating as they should.

One way to treat the weakened cooperation that the QRS prolongation indicates is to insert a heart failure , an advanced type of the device that sends signals to both the left and right sides of the heart. However, such a pacemaker is only used in the most severe cases. The researchers believe their study suggests that patients with milder forms of this type of heart failure can also be treated with a pacemaker.

"This advanced pacemaker has not yet been tried on heart failure caused by a reduced ability of the heart muscles to relax," says principal investigator docent Lars Lund. "However, our results indicate that it could be valuable for this type of heart failure too, and this possibility is something that we must now go on to explore."

Explore further: Pacemaker implantation for heart failure does not benefit nearly half of the patients

More information: Lars H Lund, et al. Prevalence, Correlates and Prognostic Significance of QRS Prolongation in Heart Failure with Reduced and Preserved Ejection Fraction. European Heart Journal, online publication 5 October 2012.

Related Stories

Pacemaker implantation for heart failure does not benefit nearly half of the patients

June 13, 2011
A new meta-analysis study, led by physician researchers at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and to be published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, shows ...

Taking vitamin E does not impact women's heart failure risk

March 20, 2012
Taking vitamin E supplements does not increase or decrease heart failure risk among women, according to a study in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Targeting leg fatigue in heart failure

October 31, 2011
Doctors should not only treat the heart muscle in chronic heart failure patients, but also their leg muscles through exercise, say researchers in a study published today in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Recommended for you

How genes and environment interact to raise risk of congenital heart defects

October 19, 2017
Infants of mothers with diabetes have a three- to five-fold increased risk of congenital heart defects. Such developmental defects are likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, the molecular ...

Mouse studies shed light on how protein controls heart failure

October 18, 2017
A new study on two specially bred strains of mice has illuminated how abnormal addition of the chemical phosphate to a specific heart muscle protein may sabotage the way the protein behaves in a cell, and may damage the way ...

Newborns with trisomy 13 or 18 benefit from heart surgery, study finds

October 18, 2017
Heart surgery significantly decreases in-hospital mortality among infants with either of two genetic disorders that cause severe physical and intellectual disabilities, according to a new study by a researcher at the Stanford ...

Saving hearts after heart attacks: Overexpression of a gene enhances repair of dead muscle

October 17, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham biomedical engineers report a significant advance in efforts to repair a damaged heart after a heart attack, using grafted heart-muscle cells to create a repair patch. The key was overexpressing ...

Physically active white men at high risk for plaque buildup in arteries

October 17, 2017
White men who exercise at high levels are 86 percent more likely than people who exercise at low levels to experience a buildup of plaque in the heart arteries by middle age, a new study suggests.

High blood pressure linked to common heart valve disorder

October 17, 2017
For the first time, a strong link has been established between high blood pressure and the most common heart valve disorder in high-income countries, by new research from The George Institute for Global Health at the University ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.