Recover Heart Attack with Repairing Cardiac Tissue by Heart Patch, Showing Hope

Recover Heart Attack with Repairing Cardiac Tissue by Heart Patch, Showing Hope

The most common causes of heart failure are hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary artery disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure, or hypertension, can cause a heart attack but it is also a major cause of heart failure even in the absence of an attack. In fact, about 75 percent of cases of heart failure start with hypertension.


A heart attack is an injury to the heart muscle caused by a loss of blood supply. It usually occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through a coronary artery — a blood vessel that feeds blood to a part of the heart muscle. Interrupted blood flow to your heart can damage or destroy a part of the heart muscle.The increase in risk associated with stress and social isolation applied both to total deaths and to sudden cardiac deaths and was noted among men with both high and low levels of ventricular ectopy during hospitalization for the acute infarction.

Some of the common medical disorders more often associated with depression are brain disorders, hormonal disorders, heart disease, chronic pain and cancer.Many brain disorders have consistently been shown to be associated with depression during the course of the illness. Thus, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, dementia, head injury, and certain brain tumours are often associated with depression.A variety of hormonal diseases (diabetes, thyroid disorders, adrenal gland disease) are associated with depressive symptoms or depression. Depression may be the first manifesting symptom of these disorders in a number of cases.

The relationship of depression and other psychological factors with heart disorders is quite complex. Many psychological factors, including stress, personality factors, substance abuse with tobacco and alcohol, and depression, may precede the occurrence of a heart disease or accompany it during the course of the illness. The number of patients of various forms of depression who have had a heart attack is estimated at above 40%. Unfortunately, depression in these patients is seldom diagnosed or treated.

People now often survive heart attacks, but eventually many develop heart failure from the physical damage done to the heart muscles by the attack. So ironically, heart attack recovery is probably one of the major factors in the dramatic increase in heart failure cases over the past decade.Surviving a heart attack is a frightening experience, one that can change a person for life. Even having severe heart-related chest pain can wake a person up to his or her mortality.

Heart attacks differ widely in severity. Many men and women recover with little damage. Today people with heart attacks once considered damaging can be treated with surgery and medications and then return to reasonably normal lives. Most people who have had heart attacks can return to their careers.

Health Canada advises that for patients who have not had a previous heart attack, taking l-arginine is unlikely to present a risk and may provide benefits by helping the body repair damage to blood vessels in the heart.

It's never too late to take steps to prevent a heart attack — even if you've already had one. Drug therapy has become an increasingly important part of reducing the risk of a second heart attack and helping a damaged heart function better. Lifestyle factors also play a critical role in heart attack prevention and recovery.

Most exercise and rehabilitation clinics use "Met" as a measure of physical energy. Met is a multiple of the resting energy requirement. For example, 2 Mets require twice the resting energy cost. Energy range will vary depending on skill of the one exercising, pattern of rest, and the temperature of the environment. Caloric values depend on body size, more for a larger person. A person can perform at a level of 8 to 9 Mets after recovering from a heart attack.

A patch designed to help damaged cardiac tissue recover from a heart attack has been successful in early animal testing and is moving toward potential human use, researchers report.

"It is a biodegradable, porous polyurethane scaffold that is placed atop the infarcted [damaged] region of the heart," explained study author William R. Wagner, a professor of surgery and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. "It changes the environment during the remodeling process, and degrades over several months. The impact of it is to have a thicker heart wall."

His group reports on the patch in the issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In a trial with rats that had induced heart attacks, the patch was implanted directly on the damaged part of the heart wall. The wall was thicker, "with abundant smooth muscle bundles," and healthier, mature heart cells, the researchers reported.

The patch is not designed to help produce new, contracting cells in the damaged part of the heart, Wagner stressed. Researchers at other institutions are working toward that goal, he said, "but our patch is more like a biodegradable girdle that changes the way the heart feels through a mechanical effect."

One advantage of the approach is that it could lead to quicker use of the technology in humans, Wagner said.

"It doesn't contain any cells that require attention from a regulatory perspective," he said. "We can suture it onto the heart, which allows a minimally invasive approach."

When and if the technology is used in humans, the patch will be implanted about two weeks after a heart attack, Wagner said. "That's when the heart becomes more symptomatic," he added.

A next step toward human use has started in a trial with pigs, a larger animal whose responses are more similar to those of people, Wagner said.

"We hope to complete the pig study this year," he said. "If then we are looking at positive results in this larger animal, it would mean we could do a clinical trial."

"We haven't paired up with a company yet," but such a commercial partnership would be necessary to bring the technology to market, Wagner said.

"From a theoretical perspective, it is reasonable to believe that it will work," he said. "It would alter the healing response so that the heart wall would not thin out and would have mechanical properties that preserve its function."

In other noteworthy heart news, cardiologists at the University of Washington in Seattle report in the June 5 issue of Circulation that a small study indicated that people hospitalized for cardiac arrest who received cooled saline solution appeared to do better and suffer less brain damage than those who got standard care.

"Cooling protects the brain," noted study author Dr. Francis Kim, an assistant professor of medicine at the university, in a prepared statement. "Cooling is likely to be of benefit to people who suffer cardiac arrest."

But having a heart attack does mean you need to make some changes in your life. Your doctor will advise you of medications and lifestyle changes according to how badly your heart was damaged and what degree of heart disease you have. It’s up to you to follow your doctor’s recommendations to make a full recovery.

Many women report that it takes several years to recover fully from a heart attack -- physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Go slowly - making small changes in your diet and exercise over two or three months is a good way to feel in control and stay positive. Eventually, with your efforts and good medical care, you will re-gain your self-confidence and live life to the fullest. Remember, you are not your disease - you are a woman living with heart disease who also has a life to lead.

Recovery is much faster with a trusted support team of healthcare professionals, family and friends.Most people can continue their same pattern of sexual activity after they recover from a heart attack.

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