Bleeding hearts predict future heart failure

8 June 2016        

An image from a heart scan

The amount a heart ‘bleeds’ following a heart attack can predict the severity of future heart failure, according to research presented today at the British Cardiovascular Conference, in Manchester.

Researchers at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Scotland have now found that this injury is associated with a higher risk of developing heart failure in the months following a heart attack. 

The researchers, led by Professor Colin Berry at the University of Glasgow, also confirmed the effectiveness of a test that can be used when someone has a heart attack. 

 

Bleeding, or bruising in the heart, affects over forty per cent of people who suffer from a heart attack. Researchers have now found that this injury is associated with a higher risk of developing heart failure in the months following a heart attack.

We funded the study which found that bleeding was linked to a 2.6 times greater risk of adverse remodelling, where the heart muscle changes shape, which can lead to heart failure.

 

An effective test for heart failure

The researchers, at the University of Glasgow, also confirmed the effectiveness of a test that can be used when someone has a heart attack treatment to rule-in or rule-out heart muscle bleeding, and the likelihood of survival free of heart failure. That would mean doctors would be able to identify patients who need more intensive treatment. 

The findings of this research will pave the way to find new treatments to prevent bleeding following a heart attack and the subsequent onset of heart failure.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director said:

“Heart failure is an incurable condition which is associated with a reduced quality of life and a lower life expectancy. This exciting research has found a new characteristic related to heart attacks which could be used to treat people following a heart attack, to cut their risk of developing heart failure.

There are 188,000 hospital episodes attributed to heart attack in the UK each year: that's one around every three minutes. But although around seven out of ten people now survive a heart attack, many are left with heart failure.

Over half a million people in the UK are living with heart failure. The most common cause of heart failure is a heart attack, which causes irreparable damage to the heart and leads to heart failure. The condition can leave people disabled with a poor quality of life, unable to do simple everyday tasks such as climb the stairs or go to the shops.

Find out more about how we're trying to find a cure for heart failure.