Washington, Apr 19 : Scientists at Universite de Montreal and the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre have claimed that the findings from their new study, which focussed on the most common form of heart valve disease, called aortic valve stenosis, may completely do away with open heart surgery and lead to potential new treatment of the disease.
The study led by Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, has suggested a treatment based on raising high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the so-called good cholesterol level in patients suffering from aortic valve stenosis, may ultimately prove beneficial to people who suffer from this disease.
"We are delighted to see that the new type of drug used, based on HDL, led to the regression of the aortic valve stenosis in an experimental model. This important discovery warrants further clinical studies on patients suffering from this frequent disease. This new medical option could possibly provide us with an alternative to the cardiac surgery of aortic valve replacement," said Tardif.
Aortic valve stenosis is the most common form of heart valve disease characterized by a narrowing of the aortic valve opening, causing a difference in blood pressure between the heart and the rest of the body, which is particularly dangerous for the patient.
For the study, the animals were fed a diet rich in cholesterol until aortic valve stenosis was detected by echocardiography, the medical imaging ultrasound system used for humans. Then they were divided into two groups: a control group given injections of a neutral solution, and a group treated for two weeks with injections of a drug based on raising the "good cholesterol" (ApoA-I mimetic peptide).
Interestingly, it was found that after only 14 days of treatment, the aortic valve opening in subjects had returned again to almost normal in the treated group, whereas it had improved by a mere 13 percent by eliminating the high-fat diet in the control group.
In fact, the thickness of the aortic valve decreased by 21 percent in the treated group, while remaining unchanged in the control group. Microscopic analysis revealed that valve lesions were significantly less extensive in the treatment group than in the control group. The treatment also reduced aortic valve calcifications.
The results of the study have been published on-line in the British Journal of Pharmacology.