Algae Could Help Repair Heart Damage After A Heart Attack

There is a new study currently under way that may show some promise for heart attack victims using the amazing healing properties of the sea. The Stony Brook Medicine's Heart Institute has become the newest part of the PRESERVATION clinical trial looking at the possible effects that algae may have on helping to repair a damaged heart during that critical time following a heart attack.

When someone suffers a heart attack, what often happens is that scar tissue forms and creates a bulge in the heart. This process, called restructuring, can lead to further complications and heart failure. A substance derived from algae called bioabsorbable cardiac matrix (BCM) may help prevent this restructuring when it is injected into the area of the heart damaged by the heart attack, allowing the heart to heal.

This could be extremely important for heart attack victims, more than half of whom will likely suffer further damage to their heart that could lead to heart failure and death. If this treatment proves to be successful, it could mean a larger chance of long term recovery after a heart attack.

Patients participating in the study will be closely monitored for three months following their heart attack and the beginning of the treatment, with a longer follow up extending for three years after that.

Previous studies have also shown that blue green algae (BGA) may have a variety of other health benefits and may even help to prevent a heart attack in the first place by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. According to at least one study, algae can also reduce inflammation and may offer some protection against oxidative stress, all of which equals better heart health and a reduced chance of a heart attack.

The study originally began two years ago but still lacks a few patients to complete the trial for the second phase of this study with heart attack victims. With the new additions from Stony Brook, they now have 292 patients enrolled in the second phase of the trial. So far, there are fifteen different medical centers and clinics participating in the study, which will test both the safety as well as the effectiveness of the algae derived BGA treatment.

Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the United States and affects over 26 million people. While this study looks very promising, experts still advise that the best way to protect your heart from the damage of a heart attack is to prevent it in the first place with a healthy diet that is nutritionally robust, plenty of exercise, and stress reduction.

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