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Drug trials show promising results for heart failure patients - report

Study published in The Lancet concerns new drug which could help half of all heart failure patients.

Image: Toby Talbot/AP/Press Association Image

TESTS BEING CARRIED out on using a new drug are showing promising results that could lead to improved medical treatment for about half of all heart failure patients, according to a new study published in The Lancet.

Currently, there is no effective drug treatment for heart failure with ‘preserved ejection fraction’. This type of heart failure involves a much lower-than-healthy percentage of blood leaving the heart’s left ventricle during cardiac contractions as well as the patient experiences all of the symptoms of heart failure.

Researchers have been studying whether a new compound, LCZ696, would be effective in treating this type of heart failure, which affects about half of all heart failure patients.

After 12 weeks, heart failure patients who were treated with the compound showed considerably reduced levels of a protein marker that increases as heart failure worsens than pateitns who were treated with a blood pressure-reducing drug currently used in the treatment of heart failure called ‘valsartan’.

“LCZ696 might have beneficial effects in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and further testing of this compound could be warranted in patients with this disorder,” lead researcher Dr Scott Solomon of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston said of the group’s research.

“However, it should be noted that the results of this study are based on biomarkers and surrogate endpoints; whether the observed effects will translate into improved clinical outcomes needs prospective testing in an appropriately sized outcomes study.”

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Commenting on the Lancet report, Professor John Cleland of Castle Hill Hospital in the UK said that the study’s positive results “will surely trigger a definitive trial”, but added that “given that there are no known effective treatments for this type of heart failure, researchers will need to choose very carefully how they assess the efficacy of LCZ696 in treating heart failure with preserved ejection fraction”.

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