Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can we learn new tricks from an old drug in treating heart attacks?

11.11.2004


Bretylium’s unique effects may point to new concept of heart attacks



An "old" drug has unique benefits for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI; commonly known as heart attack), a finding that may contribute to a new understanding of how heart attacks develop, according to an article in the September/October American Journal of Therapeutics.

In the definitive report, Marvin Bacaner, M.D., University of Minnesota, describes the effects of the antiarrhythmic drug bretylium tosylate in preventing dangerous heart rhythm disorders and other complications after AMI.


Bretylium works by blocking release of the "fight or flight" hormone adrenaline, preventing activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Given intravenously, bretylium was once the mainstay of treatment for ventricular fibrillation and other heart rhythm disorders after AMI, although in recent years it has been largely replaced by other drugs.

However, Dr. Bacaner now believes that bretylium may offer unique advantages in heart attack treatment, and that it can be given effectively orally. In a study of 110 patients with AMI, potentially deadly arrhythmias developed in just 8 percent of patients treated with bretylium, compared to 65 percent of those treated with a different drug, liodcaine.

Bretylium’s adrenaline-blocking effect may lead to other benefits as well. In 31 percent of patients taking bretylium, the evolving heart attack did not develop into a "true" myocardial infarction, with permanent damage to the heart muscle. In contrast, 95 percent of patients treated with lidocaine developed a large heart attack.

A clue to the importance of blocking the sympathetic nervous system was that bretylium-treated patients remained warm and dry, with normal skin color. In contrast, patients receiving lidocaine were pale, sweaty, and cool, all signs of sympathetic nervous system activation.

Taken together, the findings suggest that the sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in the development of AMI. While clogged arteries are a major factor, Dr. Bacaner points out that it isn’t the only cause of the problem: some people have AMIs even though they have no coronary blockage, while others have blocked arteries but never experience a heart attack.

Sympathetic nervous system activation may be a previously underappreciated contributor to arrhythmias and heart muscle damage after heart attack. In the past, bretylium was available for intravenous use only. Dr. Bacaner has recently developed an oral form, which may offer a new approach to preventing arrhythmias as well as other dangerous complications.

"Dr. Bacaner is a true pioneer in the treatment of heart disease, and his development of an oral formulation of bretylium has the potential to extend the utility of discoveries made a half-century ago," says John C. Somberg, M.D., editor of the American Journal of Therapeutics. "Although further, rigorous ’proof of concept’ studies will be needed, Dr. Bacaner’s ideas about the importance of the sympathetic nervous system may offer a new paradigm for the understanding of heart disease."

Molly Portz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umn.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht New antibody analysis accelerates rational vaccine design
09.08.2018 | Scripps Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular switch detects metals in the environment

15.08.2018 | Materials Sciences

Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain

15.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>