Tag Archives: Heart failure

CoQ10 improves functionality and mortality in heart failure – and statins decrease CoQ10

The jury was out for a long time on the effectiveness of taking CoQ10 supplements for people with various heart

English: The illustration shows the major sign...
English: The illustration shows the major signs and symptoms of heart failure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

conditions. I used to take it because I’d read many doctors’ favorable accounts. However, my cardiologist never recommended it specifically, so I stopped when I realized how much I was paying for it.

New research points to the idea that this substance may be even more valuable than previously thought by its proponents. CoQ10 is said to improve every measure of functionality – and now to dramatically decrease mortality – in heart failure patients, according to an article on FireEngineering.com. I’ve included the article’s references below.

Further research shows CoQ10 levels decrease naturally as we age, and they actually decrease further when patients take statins. Statins are those over-prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs that gradually damage people’s livers and can produce other nasty side effects such as blocking the effects of cardiovascular fitness training and inclining patients to develop diabetes.

Compelling reading.


  1. Heart Failure 2013
  2. SA Mortensen, A Kumar, P Dolliner, et al. “The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure.” Results from the Q-SYMBIO study. Presented at Heart Failure Congress 2013 Final Programme Number 440.
    The full title of the Q-SYMBIO study is: “Coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive treatment of chronic heart failure: a randomised double blind multicentre trial with focus on changes in symptoms, biomarker status with BNP and long term outcome.”
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Nano help for stem cell rebuilding hearts

English: Diagram to show how embryonic stem ce...
English: Diagram to show how embryonic stem cells are differentiated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m excited to report news involving three of my favorite topics: nanotechnology, stem cells, and fixing hearts. Past efforts using stem cells to treat heart attacks and heart failure haven’t been very successful. And the worst part is, they don’t know why. Apparently they inject the stem cells into a patient but then don’t know where they end up. Do they stay in the targeted part of the heart or wander off somewhere else? If the treatment doesn’t work, up til now there’s been no way to determine why not. Now if only they could tell where the stem cells go and what they do…

Enter this new visualizing technique. Doctors at Stanford University School of Medicine have designed a way to use nanotechnology to track stem cells after they’ve been introduced into a patient’s body. The thought is that once they know where the stem cells have gone, they’ll be able to see more clearly what’s happening with them.  The tracking technique, which also allows doctors to guide the stem cells more precisely to their intended location,  involves marking the stem cells with nanoparticles and a gadolinium-laced contrast agent and following them with standard ultrasounds (Yay, non-invasive!) as they enter the body and move around. The hope is the docs’ll be able to see exactly where the stem cells take up residence and watch what they do. Do they stay in the targeted area or do they diffuse away from the heart? Do they develop into the desired cells or into something else entirely?

I know that gadolinium as a contrast agent ingredient is known to cause people who have kidney problems to develop a terrible and disfiguring disease known as Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis. It’s certainly good to hear that the substance can also be used in this new way to potentially help people with serious heart issues.

Unfortunately, this exciting discovery has at least three more years before it can be used in humans. But as with all life-limiting conditions, those of us who live with them are always looking for reasons to hope.

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Gene therapy shows big promise for advanced heart failure

DNA vaccine and Gene therapy techniques are si...
Image via Wikipedia

It’s only a small group of patients, but the results are dramatic. A new gene therapy for advanced heart failure looks really promising.

People can live a long time with heart failure if it’s kept under control. But if it gets to where they can’t keep the water from accumulating beyond safe levels in the body’s tissues, patients begin to feel like hell and experience more frequent cardiac events that put them in the hospital.

Researchers conducted a Phase II trial at Mount Sinai School of Medicine with a gene therapy developed there and found it stabilized or improved cardiac function in people with severe heart failure. The patients who were given a high dose of the therapy, called SERCA2a, benefited clinically (which means they felt better or lived longer) and had significantly fewer cardiovascular hospitalizations. The study appears online in the June 27 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Simply put, the SERCA2a therapy consists of delivering an inactive virus that carries medication into cardiac cells. It then stimulates the heart cells to produce an enzyme that helps the heart pump more effectively in people with advanced heart failure.

Quality of life is often just as important as longevity. If you can feel okay and not have to go to the hospital every other week or month, it’s a lot easier to live your life more fully. Advanced heart failure is tough—it’s always exciting to see that science continues to find ways to use the tools of nature to help in relatively non-invasive ways.

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New marker for diagnosing heart failure

The illustration shows the major signs and sym...
Image via Wikipedia

If you find yourself not being able to breathe very well—gasping or huffing and puffing on slight exertion or on lying down—your doctor can go down a number of different routes to find out what the problem is. Since I know from personal experience they don’t necessarily go down the right road, even when they keep reaching dead ends on the ones they do pursue, this could be a good thing for you to know yourself.

If you already know you have heart trouble, your doc will probably look down that route first. And now there’s a way for even your internist to tell if your troubled breathing might be due to congestive heart failure rather than to a respiratory or other issue. A simple blood test for BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide) can tell whether you have much higher levels than someone who’s breathing trouble is lung- or other-related. Any doctor can read the test–doesn’t have to be a cardiologist. And even happier, the BNP test can be done quickly–as in emergency room speed–so docs can treat for the right thing right away.

Earlier treatment can vastly improve quality of life and potentially extend a patient’s lifespan. It can also mean savings in treatment costs over the course of the condition. So it’s good news for hospitals as well as for patients.

Well, I guess it’s never too early to  learn the truth if docs can give you medications to ease the symptoms. Plus, it gives you more time to decide if there’s anything you want to get done before your number’s up.

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