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New system devised to guide doctors treating patients with symptomatic myocardial bridging
Date:6/26/2008

LOS ANGELES (June 25, 2008) What type of intervention, if any, should cardiologists offer their patients who have a heart abnormality called myocardial bridging and symptoms of heart problems?

A research team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the University of Texas Medical Branch and RWTH Aachen University in Germany has developed a new classification system that may help guide decision-making, according to Ernst R. Schwarz, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai's Heart Institute who is the first and corresponding author of an article in the June 25, 2008, online edition of Cardiology.

Myocardial bridging occurs when the heart is malformed, with a bridge of muscle fibers overlying a section of a coronary artery, usually the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. When the heart beats, the artery is squeezed and normal blood flow is disrupted during both the pumping and relaxed cycles. This may lead to signs and symptoms similar to those caused by coronary artery disease but which are primarily the result of the entrapment and constriction of this major artery.

Many patients have no symptoms and may be unaware that they have the malformation unless it is detected through diagnostic imaging. Although often considered a harmless normal variant, myocardial bridging has been linked to a variety of conditions, including heart rhythm abnormalities, heart attacks and even sudden cardiac death.

"From medication management to angioplasty and bypass surgery, there are a number of therapies available for patients who have myocardial bridging. But there has been no universally accepted protocol to determine whether a patient with myocardial bridging requires therapy, or which option is best in each case," said Schwarz. "Our study was designed to evaluate the usefulness of several diagnostic tests and to provide guidelines for doctors choosing the most appropriate treatments for their patients."

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Contact: Sandy Van
sandy@prpacific.com
800-880-2397
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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