In a new study, researchers found that a drug for treating erectile dysfunction may help slow or even reverse the progression of heart failure.
The new finding is a breakthrough in the treatment for the disease.
The research was conducted by University of Manchester scientists.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
The condition can cause a build-up of fluid that backs up into the lungs. This can lead to breathlessness and result in swelling of different parts of the body.
Most current treatments are not effective, and the five-year survival rates of heart failure are lower than most common cancers.
In the current study, the team aimed to find a better treatment for heart failure.
The drug they used is called Tadalafil. It is in the same class as Viagra.
The team found that the drug is effective as a treatment for heart failure in sheep. Sheep were used because the physiology their hearts is similar to human hearts.
In the study, when the animals had heart failure, the team administered the drug.
The dose the sheep received was similar to the dose humans are given when being treated for erectile dysfunction.
The researchers found that the worsening of heart failure was stopped within a short period and that the drug reversed the effects of heart failure.
They also found that the biological cause of breathlessness in heart failure- was almost completely reversed.
The team suggests that the finding is an important advance in the devastating heart condition.
It demonstrates that Tadalafil could now be a possible therapy for heart failure.
Although the study was done on sheep, the team argues the effect is likely to also be shown in humans.
They also suggest that Tadalafil is only suitable as a treatment for systolic heart failure, in which the heart is not able to pump properly.
Future work needs to confirm the finding in human and find effective treatments for other types of heart failure.
The lead author of the study is Professor Andrew Trafford.
The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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