July 26, 2017 In News By

IMPART Members Discover Cause of Breath Shortness in Heart Failure Patients

In a study published recently in Science Translational Medicine, Dr. Jeremy Simpson and Dr. Keith Brunt detailed their discovery of a link between breath shortness, or dyspnea, in heart failure patients and a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Although the fact that people with heart failure have increased levels of norepinephrine and angiotensin is well known in the medical community, the two doctors and their team found that those hormones actually indirectly impact the respiratory system by telling the brain to send it into overdrive. The respiratory eventually becomes weak and is unable to properly function.

“Suppressing those hormones using beta blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers that are able to pass through the blood-brain barrier can prevent that. The key is finding the right drug for the right patient to best treat both the heart and respiration.

The findings could substantially improve the quality of life for heart patients, and also for people with other diseases involving shortness of breath.

‘It’s really exciting that we found out we can treat it,’ Simpson says. ‘We expect a lot of studies will come out of this.'”

Check out further reflections on the study’s impact at https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7324063-guelph-professor-discovers-way-to-help-heart-failure-patients/