Patch May Help After Heart Attack

An experimental patch may help prevent heart failure after
heart attack , preliminary research shows.

The patch, called Anginera, is worn directly on the heart. It's laced with
cells and growth factors to spur the heart to grow new cells and blood vessels
to prevent heart failure after a heart attack.

The patch is starting to be studied in people. But at an American Heart
Association conference, scientists presented the results from testing the patch
in rats.

The researchers implanted the patch on the rats' hearts either immediately
after the rats had a heart attack or three weeks after the rats' heart attack,
when heart failure had already begun.

In both cases, the rats had an improvement in their heart's pumping ability
and blood flow to heart muscle. Those improvements were greater when the patch
was implanted immediately after a heart attack.

The patch also appeared to help the heart's left ventricle -- which pumps
blood out of the heart -- not become enlarged, as it would in heart failure.
But implanting the patch when the rats already had heart failure didn't affect
left ventricle size.

The researchers included Jordan Lancaster of the Southern Arizona VA Medical
Center in Tucson and employees at Theregen, the San Francisco company that's
developing the Anginera heart patch.

They presented the results in Keystone, Colo., at the American Heart
Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Conference 2008 -- Heart Failure:
Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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