Navigation Links
A Cheap, Old Heart Drug May Help Elderly Heart Failure Patients
Date:3/11/2013

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Everything old is new again, even in medicine, with a just-released study finding that an older, inexpensive drug may help keep heart failure patients out of the hospital.

Largely abandoned after a 1997 study found that it did not lower heart failure patients' death rates, a re-analysis of that data found that digoxin (also known as digitalis) may lower rates of 30-day hospital readmissions by more than one-third.

"If these findings can be replicated in contemporary older heart failure patients discharged from the hospital, digoxin may provide an inexpensive tool to reduce 30-day all-cause hospital readmissions," said study lead researcher Dr. Ali Ahmed, a professor of medicine and epidemiology in the divisions of geriatrics and cardiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Ahmed presented the findings Monday in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC); the results will be published simultaneously online in the American Journal of Medicine. His research was funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Veterans Administration.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, more than 5.8 million Americans suffer from heart failure, a notoriously tough-to-treat condition in which the heart's pumping action grows gradually weaker over time.

"Heart failure is the leading reason for hospital admission and readmission for older Americans," Ahmed said. "Over a quarter of older adults hospitalized for heart failure return to the hospital within 30 days, and the majority return to the hospital for the same reasons -- heart failure symptoms."

The story he described actually began in 1997, when a trial from the Digitalis Investigation Group found that digoxin failed to reduce death rates in patients with heart failure. With newer drugs offering new treatment options, rates of use for digoxin for heart failure fell from about two-thirds of patients before the study's release to one-third afterward, according to the ACC.

But many of those treatment decisions may have been premature. In the new study, researchers re-examined data on rates of 30-day hospital readmissions among the 6,800 patients in the Digitalis Investigation Group trial, half of whom were aged 65 or older.

The team found that patients taking digoxin had 34 percent lower odds of needing to go back into hospital care within a month of discharge, compared to people not taking the drug.

That's an important finding, since estimates from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid put the annual bill for unplanned hospital readmissions at more than $17 billion -- about one-sixth of all Medicare spending on hospitalizations.

Having to re-enter hospital care multiple times is also a potent risk factor for death or adverse outcomes in people with heart failure, experts note. According to the ACC, digoxin helps strengthen the heart's contraction, helping it to pump better.

One expert said the findings show the importance of re-examining older data.

The study "raises a very interesting possibility: that digitalis may still have a role despite improved modern therapies for heart failure," said Dr. Prediman Shah, director of the division of cardiology at Cedars Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. Shah said this drug, first used more than 300 years ago, "may have an incremental benefit by improving heart failure and reducing readmission rates in patients who are otherwise well-treated."

Shah said digoxin costs mere pennies per day. If that small investment could reduce the rate of expensive hospital readmissions, that would not only help patients but also aid "hospital systems in terms of their finances," he said.

Might this new data help trigger a shift back to the widespread use of digoxin for heart failure? "If you think about the cost of instituting digitalis as being practically negligible, people will probably be persuaded that if, for a few cents a day, you can reduce readmission by even a few percent, what is there to lose?" Shah said.

More information

To find out more about heart failure, head to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

SOURCES: Prediman Shah, M.D., director, division of cardiology, Cedars Sinai Heart Institute, Los Angeles; Ali Ahmed, professor of medicine and epidemiology, divisions of geriatrics and cardiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham; March 11, 2013, presentation, annual meeting, American College of Cardiology, San Francisco


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Was Heart Disease the Mummies Real Curse?
2. Viagra, Aliskiren Not Helpful for Heart Failure After All: Studies
3. Common erectile dysfunction drug not helpful for heart failure patients, study finds
4. Angioplasty Safe in Hospitals Without On-Site Heart Surgery Services
5. Symptoms and care of irregular heartbeats differ by gender
6. New Drugs Might Give Heart Patients an Edge
7. Obese New Mothers May Have Higher Heart Attack, Stroke Risk
8. Okyanos Heart Institute Sponsors Stem Cell Resource Center on The American Journal of Cardiology Website
9. Study: Mega Vitamins Wont Help After Heart Attack, Chelation Treatment Might
10. Certain Diabetes Medications May Lower Heart Failure Risk
11. A new drug reduces heart damage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
A Cheap, Old Heart Drug May Help Elderly Heart Failure Patients
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 ... dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery ... are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) learned during ... two significant new grants to support its work to advance research and patient ... recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in fighting pulmonary hypertension ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, ... treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic ... osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ... raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at ... the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever “Issue of ... in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work of leading ... and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize the efforts ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... OTTAWA, Ontario , June 27, 2016  VMS ... the Company,s Board will take whatever measures required to ... the Company,s stock which is currently listed on the ... S Wexler, Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing ... be difficult to understand, not only by the Company, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) ... developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of grievous ... the closing of its previously announced underwritten public ... the public offering price of $18.75 per share. ... offered by GBT. GBT estimates net proceeds from ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Va. , June 24, 2016 The ... set of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical ... (HCEI) with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, ... the "value" of new medicines. The recommendations ... does not appear on the drug label, a prohibition ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: