Common blood test could advance heart failure treatment

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In a new study from the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, researchers developed a new use for a common blood test, which could provide potentially life-saving treatment for heart failure.

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot keep up with its workload, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen legs, and rapid heartbeat.

In recent years, scientists have examined the connection between thyroid hormones and cardiac function.

They found that borderline-low thyroid hormone levels may increase the risk of death in heart failure patients, and animal studies indicating that restored cardiac thyroid levels can dramatically improve heart function.

They believe that half of heart failure patients likely have low levels of the thyroid hormone T3 in their cardiac tissue.

In the study, the team found an existing biomarker called brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) may provide the much-needed solution.

In medicine, biomarkers are biological molecules found in patient’s blood, fluid, or tissue sample that can indicate whether a disease or condition is present. They can also be used to see how well the body responds to treatments.

During heart failure, the heart will secrete higher levels of the biomarker BNP into blood, a key indication that the heart disease is worsening.

The researchers hypothesized that by analyzing a patient’s BNP levels in response to added T3, clinicians could titrate for just the right dosage required.

Using rat models of heart failure caused by low T3 and heart attack, the researchers tested their theory.

They discovered through a simple blood test, not an extensive, invasive procedure, that T3 could be adjusted to safely restore cardiac hormone balance.

In addition, because heart patients routinely undergo BNP and thyroid hormone testing, these widely used biomarkers could be easily monitored from blood tests.

The team says that serum BNP levels can be used to titrate the volume of T3 required. When T3 treatment led to a reduction in serum BNP levels, this was linked to improved cardiac function and reversal of these heart failure genes.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about a hidden culprit in heart failure and findings of 4 things may increase your stroke and heart attack risks.

For more information about heart disease prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about a new low-calorie diet could help lose weight and boost heart health and results showing that your push-up number may predict your heart disease risk.

The study is published in Frontiers in Physiology. One author of the study is Martin Gerdes, Ph.D.

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