June 27, 2024

Post-CABG cardiac shockwave therapy shows promise in early study

Editor's Note

Using a device they call a “space hairdryer,” researchers in Austria applied gentle shockwaves to regenerate heart tissue after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) in a study with potential implications for millions of patients, BBC News reported June 20. Researchers are now seeking larger trials, European regulatory approval, and potentially broader patient use by 2025.

Reportedly the first time that heart muscle regeneration has been observed in a clinical setting, the study involved 63 patients. Findings revealed that patients treated with shockwaves had an 11.3% increase in oxygenated blood pumped by the heart, compared to 6.3% in the control group, BBC reports. These patients also exhibited ability to walk further, improved heart function, and other quality-of-life benefits.

According to the study, which was published in the European Heart Journal, the cardiac shockwave system consisted of a table-top device (Nonvasiv Medical GmbH, Konstanz, Germany) and a sterile single-use applicator releasing electrohydraulic shockwaves (Heart Regeneration Technologies GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria)

Known as cardiac shockwave therapy, the application of mild soundwaves aims to stimulate the growth of new vessels after a heart attack, BBC reports. Similar techniques are already employed to treat injured tendons and ligaments, erectile dysfunction, and for lithotripsy (which uses higher-strength waves to break up kidney stones).

Every year, 18 million people around the world die from heart disease or other cardiovascular complications, BBC reports, citing figures from the World Health Organization. Risk factors include high blood pressure and an unhealthy diet, as well as tobacco and alcohol use.


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