Breakthrough treatment can prevent damage to a broken heart

Medical researchers have for the first time discovered a way to prevent and eliminate damage caused by broken heart syndrome, also known as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. A stress-induced condition is known as stress cardiomyopathy or apical balloon. It has the same symptoms as a heart attack, but is not caused by any underlying cardiovascular disease.

A significant study, conducted by a team of researchers from Monash University, showed a cardioprotective benefit of a drug called Suberanilohydroxamic acid (SAHA) that targets genes. The first in the world for takotsubo cardiomyopathy dramatically improved heart health and reversed a broken heart.

Broken heart syndrome is a weakening of the left ventricle, the main pump in the heart, and is caused by stressful emotional triggers that often follow traumatic events such as the death of a loved one or family separation. This condition mimics a heart attack with chest pain, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat.

SAHA, which is currently used to treat cancer, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), acting to provide a protective benefit to genes, especially the acetylation / deacetylation index (Ac / Dc). an important process that regulates gene expression.

The aim of the study led by prof. El-Osta himself from Monash Central Clinical School had a better understanding of the regulatory mechanism as a first step toward improving treatment plans.

“For the first time, we are showing that a drug that shows preventive and therapeutic benefits is important for a healthy heart. The drug not only slows down heart injuries, but also reverses, the damage done to the heart under stress,” said Prof.

In Western countries, there is a clear, uneven distribution among Takotsubo patients – the condition occurs almost exclusively in women, especially after menopause, and new research suggests that up to 8 percent of women suspected of having a heart attack may have the disorder.

Although the main symptoms are chest pain and difficulty breathing, the exact cause is not known. Experts think that sudden stress hormones basically flood the heart, triggering changes in heart muscle cells or coronary blood vessels (or both) that effectively prevent left ventricular contraction. This causes a feeling of pain in the chest that can be misunderstood as a heart attack.

Most patients fully recover within two months, which is good news, but the bad news is that along the way, some patients suffer from significant heart failure and other hospital complications. There is no standard treatment for a broken heart and although death is rare, heart failure occurs in about 20 percent of patients, and therapeutic options remain limited.

“This preclinical study describes a new standard in preventive and therapeutic potential using a cardioprotective drug that targets genes in the heart,” said Prof. El-Osta.