Vi­brat­ing cush­ion can give you heart by­pass

Daily Mail - - Good Health - By ROGER DOBSON

SCI­EN­TISTS have de­vel­oped a vi­brat­ing cush­ion for treat­ing heart dis­ease and angina. It works by en­cour­ag­ing the growth of new blood ves­sels. The de­vice, which is placed be­hind your shoul­ders as you sit in a chair at home, mas­sages your back gen­tly. The vi­bra­tions are thought to stim­u­late the for­ma­tion of blood ves­sels to by­pass blocked ar­ter­ies.

Heart dis­ease is the re­sult of the ar­ter­ies be­com­ing con­stricted and hard­ened thanks to a build-up of fatty ma­te­rial known as plaque; this re­duces the flow of blood to the heart and other parts of the body.

Re­duced blood flow means the heart has to work harder, which can cause angina (chest pain), the most com­mon symp­tom of heart dis­ease.

If a piece of plaque breaks off, it can trig­ger a blood clot, which cuts off the blood sup­ply, caus­ing a heart at­tack. Heart dis­ease and at­tacks can lead to heart fail­ure, where the heart be­comes too weak to pump blood prop­erly.

Treat­ment for heart dis­ease ranges from di­etary changes to surgery where small metal coils (stents) are in­serted to open up nar­rowed ar­ter­ies.

In se­vere cases, pa­tients may be of­fered a heart by­pass, where blood is re-routed around the blocked or nar­rowed sec­tion of artery us­ing a vein taken from another part of the body.

Newer treat­ments in­clude ex­tra­cor­po­real ul­tra­sonic shock­waves, where sound­waves are fired at the dis­eased ar­ter­ies to trig­ger pro­duc­tion of sub­stances that stim­u­late the growth of new blood ves­sels. While this has shown prom­ise in tri­als, it is ex­pen­sive and in­volves spe­cial­ist hos­pi­tal treat­ment.

The new de­vice, de­vel­oped by a Cana­dian com­pany, Ahof Bio­phys­i­cal Sys­tems, is based on the same prin­ci­ple, with low level vi­bra­tions act­ing like the sound­wave treat­ment. A sim­i­lar ap­proach is used for wound heal­ing — a study from the Univer­sity of Illi­nois found that ap­ply­ing a vi­brat­ing de­vice to wounds for 30 min­utes five times a week healed them more quickly, re­ported the jour­nal PLOS One last year. The cush­ion con­tains a de­vice that vi­brates — the pa­tient re­clines in any chair and po­si­tions it

at the top of their back, so the vi­bra­tions are ap­plied be­tween their shoul­ders. Previous re­search at To­hoku Univer­sity School of Medicine in Ja­pan sug­gest it stim­u­lates blood flow around the heart and strength­ens heart con­trac­tions.

Now a clin­i­cal trial of the cush­ion is un­der way, where 30 pa­tients with heart dis­ease or angina will have daily 30-minute ses­sions for three months us­ing the vi­brat­ing de­vice or an or­di­nary cush­ion.

DRAZFAR ZA­MAN, a con­sul­tant car­di­ol­o­gist at Free­man Hos­pi­tal, New­cas­tle upon Tyne, and spokesman for Heart Re­search UK, says: ‘ This is an in­ter­est­ing con­cept.

‘ If early promis­ing data is con­firmed in large clin­i­cal tri­als then send­ing sound­waves to the hearts of pa­tients with angina may im­prove the lives of many peo­ple who haven’t re­sponded to med­i­cal treat­ment.’

TREES could pro­tect women from heart dis­ease, a new study sug­gests. Us­ing date cov­er­ing 20 years, U.S. re­searchers tracked the heart health of more than 150,000 women in a town where trees were in­fested by a deadly bee­tle.

Re­sults in the jour­nal Health & Place showed that women liv­ing in the town with the emer­ald ash borer bee­tle and who, there­fore, saw less green­ery and trees, had a 25 per cent in­creased risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

It’s thought re­duced nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments raise stress lev­els. Previous re­search has found that stress is linked to re­duced blood flow to the heart.

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