Finding Best Treatment for Heart Failure

International study tries to find which therapies will work best

TUESDAY, Nov. 25, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- An international study that includes 2,800 patients at 90 medical centers is trying to determine whether medical therapy or surgery is the best way to treat congestive heart failure.

The STICH (Surgical Treatments for Ischemic Heart failure) study is sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

It will also compare coronary artery bypass surgery alone to bypass surgery plus a new procedure called surgical ventricular restoration to answer whether the combined procedure increases long-term survival and decreases cardiac hospitalization.

"Heart failure affects about 5 million Americans and is the most common reason patients seek medical treatments at hospitals," Dr. Mihai Gheorghiade, associate chief in the division of cardiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, says in a prepared statement.

Northwestern is one of the medical centers taking part in the STICH study and Gheorghiade is the hospital's lead investigator.

"Although we've made significant progress with medical therapies for heart failure, the mortality and hospitalizations continue to be unacceptably high. Cardiac transplantation is an option for patients with very severe heart failure, but very few patients (fewer than 2,000 per year) receive this treatment due to the small number of donors," Gheorghiade says.

"The present study is exploring the potential benefits of a new and revolutionary procedure, ventricular reconstruction," he adds.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the STICH study.

SOURCE: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, news release, November 2003
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