A new, exciting treatment for heart attack patients is currently being researched — great news for the 2.3 million people believed to be living with heart disease, and the 7 out of 10 people who survive heart attacks.
Expected to save tens of thousands of lives every year, the treatment was discovered by a research team at the William Harvey Research Institute of Queen Mary University of London, led by world-leading specialist Professor Ken Suzuki. It’s expected to become available within five years, once researchers determine the best way to deliver the treatment to patients (in the form of a drug).
Many heart attack sufferers will run into health problems for the rest of their lives, such as breathlessness, fatigue, and even heart failure. If their heart attack was significantly large, there’s more damage to the heart muscle – which makes it extremely difficult to function. Up to one third of people who suffer from a heart attack could potentially die from further cardiac problems. With this new treatment, it’s possible to repair the damaged tissue in hearts, decreasing the risk of heart failure in the future.
So what exactly is in the treatment? Naturally occurring protein, known as cytokines. This protein, when injected into a patient, activates specific kind of heart cells, called macrophages.
Macrophages protect cells in the heart muscle and lead to the development of increased connective tissue, ultimately helping to repair the tissue damaged by a heart attack.
According to Barbara Harpham, National Director of Heart Research UK, the protein is urgently needed for today’s aging population. She said the treatment will will help patients as soon as possible, improving –and saving—their lives.
Sally Bee, a three-time heart attack sufferer and celebrity chef in the UK, is extremely excited about the treatment. Due to her attacks, she has severe damage to her heart muscle and tries to remain as healthy and in shape as possible to prevent future problems – not an easy feat when even walking is painful. While most heart attacks are caused by clogged arteries, Bee’s attacks were caused by a rare condition, and the chance of another continuously haunts her.
Other causes of heart disease include poor lifestyle choices (an unhealthy diet, being overweight, and smoking), as well as diabetes. Thanks to this breakthrough development, many sufferers can rest a little easier knowing a treatment is on its way.