Dramatic results treating acute heart failure with modified pregnancy hormone

Final weeks of pregnancy
Final weeks of pregnancy (Photo credit: storyvillegirl)

Yep. In a trial with more than 1000 patients hospitalized for acute heart failure, deaths from any cause were 37 percent fewer in the six months following hospitalization. The treatment also resulted in a marked reduction in worsening of heart failure during the hospitalization.

The drug is called serelaxin, and it’s a derivative form of the pregnancy hormone relaxin. “It relaxes blood vessels and eases stress on the heart and other organs.” (I’m betting it involves nitric oxide somehow.) “Patients who received 48 hours of continuously infused serelaxin experienced more than 45 percent fewer episodes of worsening heart failure symptoms than those who got a placebo.”

P.S.  It also cut hospital stays by up to a full day and improved symptoms of breathlessness (dyspnea). Novartis plans to seek approval to market the drug.

When I think about the stress the body undergoes during pregnancy, it makes perfect sense that the hormones that flood the female body during that time have a protective effect on the mother’s whole system. What a brilliant idea it was to try to translate that into cardiac protectiveness in other situations.

Love that¬†part about fewer deaths “from any cause” (emphasis is mine). This hormone may join nitric oxide as one of my favorite topics. Seems it just, as the old folks used to say, “does a body good.” I hope the FDA is able to quickly stamp its approval.

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