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Heart drug offers possible treatment for patients facing respiratory failure
Date:9/22/2011

showed levosimendan enhanced the ability of those tissues to contract.

Based on the results of those studies, the researchers in this study hoped to determine whetherlevosimendanwouldimprovethe ability of the diaphragm muscle to contract in healthy volunteers, Dr. Heunks explained.

The researchers enrolled 30 healthy volunteers and randomized them to receive either levosimendan or placebo. Each volunteer performed two identical breathing exercises, one before receiving levosimendan or placebo and one afterward. During each exercise, the researchers used a specialized catheter to measure the nervous system's stimulation of the respiratory muscles and the amount of force those muscles used in forced exhalation. Magnetic nerve stimulation was used to evaluate the movements of the diaphragm before and after the exercise period, and heart rate, blood pressure, exhaled carbon dioxide and blood oxygen levels were continuously measured.

At the end of their study, the researchers found subjects in the placebo group had a 9-percent loss of muscle contraction following the exercises, while those in the levosimendan group had no loss of contraction. In addition, the mechanical efficiency of the diaphragm during the exercises improved by 21 percent in the levosimendan group compared to the placebo group, meaning subjects treated with levosimendan needed less effort than those treated with placebo to achieve the same amount of muscle force in the diaphragm.

"On average, the breathing exercises in subjects receiving placebo resulted in significant reductions in diaphragm muscle contractions, while the group receiving levosimendan had no significant decrease in contractions," Dr. Heunks said. "Essentially,levosimendan prevents the development of muscle fatigue of the respiratory muscles."

Dr. Heunks noted that while these results indicate calcium sensitizers like levosimendan may provide an effective therapeutic option for chronically i
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Contact: Brian Kell
bkell@thoracic.org
212-315-6442
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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