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Erectile Dysfunction Drugs may Trump Nitroglycerin for Heart Protection

undergoing elective procedures, including coronaryartery bypass graft, coronary angioplasty or heart transplantation. In addition, he said another potential application could be to prevent the multiple organ damage that occurs following cardiac arrest, resuscitation or shock.

"Preserving heart function is critical to optimal cardiac outcomes," said George W. Vetrovec, M.D., chair of cardiology at the VCU Pauley Heart Center. "These agents have significant potential to enhance patient outcomes, particularly in high risk circumstances, such as acute heart attacks."

For several years, Kukreja and his colleagues have studied a class of erectile dysfunction drugs known as phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors as part of ongoing research into heart protection. The team first investigated sildenafil, and then vardenafil, and found that both compounds were protective when given before a heart attack under experimental conditions.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Pfizer Inc., and Bayer Healthcare AG.

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