Marker involved in lymphatic system connected to heart failure

March 8, 2018, Lund University

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have found a new marker in the blood associated with an increased risk of heart failure. Surprisingly, the marker is not directly involved in how the heart functions, unlike most of the previously known markers. Instead, the new marker affects processes in the lymphatic system.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump a sufficient supply of blood around the body. The symptoms can be vague and there are many possible causes. Researchers at Lunds University have therefore looked for markers, or signal substances in blood, for faster detection of .

"We saw a clear connection in the analyses between a certain marker, a growth factor for lymphatic vessels called VEGF-D, and the risk of developing heart failure. This applied particularly to women," says Yan Borné, researcher at Lund University. The results have been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The growth factor is involved in endothelial growth, regulating how the cells on the inside of the vessels grow. "Previous markers for heart failure have been primarily related to the heart and the strain the heart is subjected to. We started with the lymphatic system instead, and the fact that people with heart failure retain fluid. The marker we identified affects the so that they help the body to remove fluid, from the legs for example," says Gunnar Engström, Professor of Cardiovascular Epidemiology at Lund University.

In the epidemiological study, the followed 4,265 people from 1991 to 2014 in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study. Using proteomics, which makes it possible to map a large number of proteins from a small blood sample, the researchers could measure the marker in question among the subjects, who had not been previously diagnosed with heart failure. The results showed that subjects with a raised level of VEGF-D had an increased risk of subsequently developing heart failure.

The researchers also studied a group of 430 patients with breathing difficulties who visited the emergency room at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö in 2013-2014. Of the 430 patients, 152 were given a diagnosis of heart failure. These people also had a raised level of VEGF-D. Yan Borné says that in the group with a raised level of VEGF-D, the likelihood of heart failure was four times greater than for those with a lower level of the marker.

"The results indicate that this marker could be used at an early stage to predict future heart failure, in view of how it affects the lymphatic system. We hope that in time the discovery will lead to a faster diagnosis at emergency departments," says Borné.

The next step, in addition to replicating the results, will be to investigate if there are genetic causes linked to the VEGF-D and the risk of developing heart failure. "We have seen a connection between and the marker. However, we do not know exactly how the mechanism works between them - this remains to be investigated," says Borné.

Explore further: Treating sleep-disordered breathing may have cardiovascular benefits for heart failure patients

More information: Yan Borné et al, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor D, Pulmonary Congestion, and Incidence of Heart Failure, Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.11.058

Related Stories

Treating sleep-disordered breathing may have cardiovascular benefits for heart failure patients

February 21, 2018
Severe sleep-disordered breathing is linked with stiffening of the arteries' walls and may be related to the development of heart failure, according to a recent study in ESC Heart Failure, a journal of the European Society ...

Risk of heart failure up for rheumatoid arthritis patients

March 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have increased risk of heart failure, according to a study published in the March 14 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Heart's pumping function is not an indicator of heart failure survival rates

November 12, 2017
Contrary to popular practice, a measure of the heart's pumping function known as "left ventricular ejection fraction" is not associated with the long-term outcomes of hospitalized heart failure patients, a UCLA-led study ...

Silent myocardial infarction linked to heart failure risk

January 3, 2018
(HealthDay)—Silent myocardial infarction (SMI) is associated with an increased long-term risk of heart failure, according to a study published in the Jan. 2 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Many adults have insufficient knowledge about heart failure

March 22, 2017
In the largest German survey on heart failure to date, investigators found that the overall awareness of heart failure has not increased over the past decade and is not at a satisfactory level.

Diabetes may have important effects in patients with acute heart failure

June 26, 2017
Researchers have found that patients with acute heart failure and diabetes, compared with those without diabetes, have distinct markers related to inflammation, cardiovascular function, and kidney health.

Recommended for you

Noisy workplace may wreak havoc on your heart

March 22, 2018
(HealthDay)—Loud noise at work doesn't just threaten your hearing, it might also boost your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a new U.S. government report suggests.

AI is quicker, more effective than humans in analyzing heart scans

March 22, 2018
A type of artificial intelligence known as advanced machine learning can classify essential views from heart ultrasound tests faster, more accurately and with less data than board-certified echocardiographers, according to ...

Smartwatch effective in detecting atrial fibrillation

March 22, 2018
Irregular heart impulses that lead to stroke can be detected with great accuracy using a smartwatch with a specially designed application, a finding that could eventually lead to new ways to screen patients for earlier treatment, ...

Majority of U.S. adults have poor heart health: study

March 19, 2018
(HealthDay)—America's heart health went from bad to worse between 1988 and 2014, a new report warns.

Drinking alcohol makes your heart race

March 18, 2018
The more alcohol you drink, the higher your heart rate gets, according to research presented today at EHRA 2018 Congress, organized by the European Society of Cardiology.

Study of nearly 300,000 people challenges the 'obesity paradox'

March 15, 2018
The idea that it might be possible to be overweight or obese but not at increased risk of heart disease, otherwise known as the "obesity paradox", has been challenged by a study of nearly 300,000 people published in in the ...


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.