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ANP Limits Damage to Heart Muscle Following Heart Attack
ANP Limits Damage to Heart Muscle Following Heart Attack

(October 26, 2007 - Insidermedicine) Patients who are given human atrial natriuretic peptide, following a heart attack experience less damage to the heart muscle and have better outcomes than those who do not receive it, according to new research published in The Lancet.

Atrial Natriuretic Peptide or ANP is a hormone that is made by cells located in one of the heart's chambers. It can affect water retention and sodium levels and plays a role in reducing blood pressure. It may also have beneficial effects in those with heart attack.

Here are some important points to remember about heart attack:
•    If you develop sudden onset of severe chest pain that radiates to you arm or jaw you should call an ambulance right away. Minutes matter here, as new treatments aim to treat as soon a possible to limit damage.
•    At the time of angioplasty, your doctor may choose to place either a bare metal stent in a narrowed artery or one that releases a medicine to reduce the chance that the artery will become blocked again.
•    After having a heart attack, it is important to aggressively lower cholesterol, blood pressure and lose weight if you are overweight.

In the present study, researchers aimed to assess the effect of ANP and placebo on heart damage and outcome. More than 270 patients were treated with ANP for three days and more than 290 with placebo.

Over a 2.5 year follow-up, the researchers found that ANP reduced heart damage by 15% and improved the volume of blood pumped with each heart beat by 5% compared to placebo.

With regard to ANP, it is thought that the reduction in heart damage and improvement in the heart’s pumping action might decrease the amount of stress on the heart and result in less heart damage. While the study found that treatment with ANP reduced the need for hospitalization for chronic heart failure, more research is needed to determine if ANP can improve survival.

For Insidermedicine in Depth, I'm Dr. Susan Sharma.