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Research into one of heart failure’s causes could lead to new treatments

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia have published new findings about “stiff heart syndrome” that could one day help prevent future cases of congestive heart failure.

Stiff heart syndrome, or cardiac amyloidosis, is one of the multiple causes of heart failure. It occurs when abnormal protein is deposited in the heart tissue, making it difficult for the heart to work properly. Stiff heart syndrome also can lead to abnormal heartbeats and bad heart signals.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Stiff heart syndrome appears to be related to microtubules, microscopic tubular structures within the cells of the heart.
  • By treating these tiny tubes with newer medications, researchers hope cardiologists will soon be able to more effectively treat patients who have heart failure resulting from stiff heart syndrome.

People with stiff heart syndrome may experience no symptoms at all, but some experience common heart failure symptoms such as fatigue, palpitations and shortness of breath, especially when lying down.

“Novel treatment options for this type of heart failure would be revolutionary as current treatment options are limited and many suffer from the effects of this difficult disease,” says Jennifer Jackson, MD, medical director for Via Christi’s Heart Failure Disease Management Clinic.

More than 5 million adults in the United States have congestive heart failure, of whom half, according to the CDC, will die within five years of their diagnosis.

For more information about Via Christi’s Heart Failure Clinic, go to viachristi.org/heart.

To find a doctor, go to viachristi.org/doctors.

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.