Cardiovascular medicine has seen leaps in the past 25 years. From rescuing patients whom would have died to providing patients with an entirely new heart, advancements have increased both the quality of life and longevity that patients with cardiovascular issues see.
Let’s examine the greatest advances in cardiovascular medicine that have occurred during the past 25 years.
Biopsied Heart Cells
Two medical studies have been conducted that prove heart cells can be repaired. These studies took biopsies from the hearts of patients, purified them, and then replaced them. The result was improved heart function for the patients.
Lowering Blood Pressure through Kidney Denervation
Researchers have maintained that there is a link between the sympathetic nervous system, kidneys and high blood pressure. In patients whom traditional blood pressure medication was ineffective, success was found through denervation of the kidneys.
Bridging for Children with Awaiting Heart Transplants
Traditionally, children awaiting heart transplants were forced to have an ECMO, which is an external device that replicates the function of the heart, implanted while they awaited a heart transplant. This has numerous risks associated with it, and can result in mortality before a heart becomes available for transplant. According to ICE, the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence, medical professionals found that a ventricular assist device (VAD) can be used in place of an ECMO.
Advances in Stroke Treatments
Stroke occurs when a blood clot manages to move through the cardiovascular system to the brain. Once there, it blocks off blood flow to certain parts of the brain. This results in damage that impairs mental function.
The SOLITAIRE and TREVO 2 devices recently approved for the treatment of stroke have been found to be more effective at clearing blockages in the brain than previous devices, like the MERCI. This resulted in better treatment for patients whom had undergone stroke, which in turn significantly improved their quality of life.
Better Atrial Fibrillation Treatments
Another significant step forward has been seen in treating atrial fibrillation, which is a condition 2.7 million Americans suffer from that has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and potential impairment in cognitive function. While warfarin has been used as the standard drug for treating atrial fibrillation, new drugs known as noval oral anticoagulants have shown to potentially treat patients with this condition better.
Cardiovascular Disease Development and Sugary Drinks
Sugar has often been used as a food additive to enhance the appeal of certain foods and to reduce the amount of fat contained within an item. This has led to things like high fructose corn syrup becoming commonplace in the foods of all age groups. One development is that abstinence from these items can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Role of Bypass Surgery for Diabetic Patients
Stents have been used to open blocked arteries in patients, but one large clinical study has found that they may not be the best option for diabetic patients with heart disease. They found that bypass surgery offered better results over stents, which in turn allowed them to live longer lives with fewer complications like the repeated failure of stents.
The Advances of Cardiovascular Medicine Continue
Many more advances in the treatment of cardiovascular-related issues continue to develop. Things like growing a new heart using a patient’s cells are five to twenty years from becoming routine treatment options.