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

Abuse and adversity in childhood linked to more cardiovascular risk in adulthood

December 18, 2017
Children and teens who are abused, witness violence, are bullied or face other adversities are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases in adulthood, according to a new scientific statement by the American Heart Association ...

Early study shows shoe attachment can help stroke patients improve their gait

December 14, 2017
A new device created at the University of South Florida – and including a cross-disciplinary team of experts from USF engineering, physical therapy and neurology – is showing early promise for helping correct the signature ...

Scientists rewrite our understanding of how arteries mend

December 13, 2017
Scientists from The University of Manchester have discovered how the severity of trauma to arterial blood vessels governs how the body repairs itself.

Deadly heart rhythm halted by noninvasive radiation therapy

December 13, 2017
Radiation therapy often is used to treat cancer patients. Now, doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that radiation therapy—aimed directly at the heart—can be used to treat patients ...

Ultra-thin tissue samples could help to understand and treat heart disease

December 12, 2017
A new method for preparing ultra-thin slices of heart tissue in the lab could help scientists to study how cells behave inside a beating heart.

Young diabetics could have seven times higher risk for sudden cardiac death

December 12, 2017
Young diabetics could have seven times more risk of dying from sudden cardiac arrest than their peers who don't have diabetes, according to new research.

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.