Heart Beat March 2008 Issue

Heart Beat: 03/08

A study published in the Jan. 18 issue of The Lancet showed that by intentionally damaging some red blood cells in a patient with systolic heart failure, doctors can "trick" the patientís body into producing anti-inflammatory cells that help heal the damaged heart. Immune modulation therapy (IMT) was developed after it was determined that a heart failure patientís natural immune response can sometimes produce high levels of inflammatory proteins and peptides called cytokines, which can actually damage the heart. In smaller amounts, cytokines can be protective. IMT research showed a 26 percent reduction in the risk for death and rehospitalization for heart failure patients with no heart attack history and 39 percent for patients classified with Stage 2 heart failureósystolic heart failure without symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue and reduced exercise intolerance.

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