Heart Remodels Itself After Coronary Treatment

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – When coronary arteries become clogged, the main left chamber of the heart enlarges and the muscular walls become thicker in an effort to compensate for its reduced pumping ability. In the end, these changes cause even more problems, so a reduction in dimensions is seen as a good sign.

Now Swiss researchers report in the International Journal of Cardiology that, after successful angioplasty or stenting to clear coronary blockages, cardiac dimension do become more normal.

Dr. Michael J. Zellweger and colleagues from University Hospital in Basel measured various parameters related to heart function in 28 patients before and after they underwent angioplasty and/or stenting to open up coronary arteries.

The team found that, overall, the efficiency of cardiac pumping had not changed significantly six months after the procedure, but there was a clear trend to improvement in patients who had not suffered a prior heart attack.

The researchers noted a reduction in the volume of the left chamber, or ventricle, indicating improvement. This was mainly among patients had a clearing procedure performed on the main coronary artery supplying this area of the heart, the left anterior descending artery.

The investigators conclude that angioplasty/stenting not only has a beneficial effect on symptoms but also has “a positive effect … on left ventricular remodeling.”

SOURCE: International Journal of Cardiology, August 2004.

The body in general amazes me. I find the heart to be fascinating, you can “abuse it ” (not recommended) and still find ways to repair it. That doesn’t mean that you can act recklessly, but there is more “wiggle room” than there used to be.

If you look at medical science it is easy to see that the things that used to kill us a generation ago are not the killers they used to be.

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