'Game-changer' for chronic heart failure patients

New medication may help patients live longer, improve quality of life

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
Headline Goes Here

It's not available to the public just yet, but it's already being called a potential "game-changer" for people living with chronic heart failure. It's a pill that may not only help them live longer, but it's also expected to improve a heart failure patient's quality of life.

"Now we have completed a clinical trial that has been published and shows there is incremental benefit to this new medication with a 15-16% reduction in the death rate. More patients are kept out of the hospital and there is an improvement in quality of life. This is potentially going to be a game-changer as far as the management of patients with chronic heart failure," explained Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist Dr. Randall Starling,  who is one of the investigators who helped test the medication.

Researchers conducted the largest study ever of a heart failure treatment. They found this new drug, which comes in pill-form and is taken twice a day, was much better at allowing people with chronic heart failure to live longer and reducing heart failure hospitalizations when compared to those who received standard care.

Researchers say the new medication is thought to reduce the strain on the failing heart and promotes the ability of the heart muscle to recover. Starling says that although there is not a timetable as to when the medication will become available to the public, or how much it may cost, the findings should provide new hope for chronic heart failure patients everywhere.

"I think what we tell people is that we've participated in the research here," said Starling. "We know what the drug is, we understand it. We know that it was very well-tolerated, perhaps even better than what most patients are already taking now and we'll work hard to get it to patients as soon as possible."

Copyright 2014 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.