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HealthViagra could be used to treat irregular heart rhythms in as little...

Viagra could be used to treat irregular heart rhythms in as little as 90 SECONDS, study

Viagra could be used to treat an irregular heart rhythm, a study has found.

The erectile dysfunction drug was found to rapidly suppress the abnormal heart beat, in some cases as quick as in 90 seconds.

An irregular heart rhythm, or cardiac arrhythmia, can be deadly if left untreated. Tit often follows a heart attack or can be a sign of heart disease. 

The Manchester University study tested the blue pill on sheep but researchers said there was no reason humans would not benefit too.  

It found that the little blue pill was able to regulate the level of calcium in heart cells, which helps control the heart’s pumping action. Too much is often the cause of an irregular heart beat.




Manchester University researchers said the erectile dysfunction drug had a 'powerful' effect on stopping this heart condition. (stock)

Manchester University researchers said the erectile dysfunction drug had a 'powerful' effect on stopping this heart condition. (stock)

Manchester University researchers said the erectile dysfunction drug had a ‘powerful’ effect on stopping this heart condition. (stock) 

More than 2million people in the UK are affected by an irregular heart rhythm every year, compared to up to 6.1million people in the US. 

Irregular heart rhythms happen when the heart is pumping too fast, too slowly or at an irregular beat.

Doctors say if left untreated the condition — which has symptoms including a fluttering sensation in the chest and breathlessness — can lead to a stroke, heart attack and sudden death.

In the study published in the journal Circulation Research the experts tested how Viagra impacted sheep heart cells.




They said sheep are a good comparison to humans because their hearts are a similar size and have a similar structure.

In the study they monitored the levels of calcium in the cells. The molecule is a key driver of heart beats and can lead to an arrthymia if there is too much calcium in heart cells.

But in the study they found that Viagra stopped calcium overload in the cells, averting arrthymias.

They found it suppressed an irregular heart rhythm called torsades de pointes within 90 seconds. 

Dr David Hutchings, the lead author, said: ‘Not only has this study demonstrated that viagra has a powerful anti-arrhythmic effect on living heart tissue, our cell studies have also uncovered the mechanism by which this happens.




‘Though we studied the effect in sheep, we believe this discovery is likely to be relevant to humans.

‘The human heart is a similar size and shape to a sheep’s. as is its anatomy and associated electricalcircuitry.

‘So this discovery could one day unleash the potential for effective treatment on what can be a devastating problem.

‘Clearly, anyone who has cardiac arrythmia should not self-medicate and should consult their GP for advice on current treatment options.’

Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation which funded the research, said: ‘A better understanding of how heart rhythm disturbances occur could pave the way for better preventions and treatments for them.




‘More research is needed, however, before viagra and similar drugs can be repurposed for treating abnormal heart rhythms in patients.’

WHAT IS AN IRREGULAR HEART BEAT? 

Arrhythmias or heart rhythm problems are experienced by more than 2 million people a year in the UK. Most people with an abnormal heart rhythm can lead a normal life if it is properly diagnosed.

The main types of arrhythmia are:

  • atrial fibrillation (AF) – this is the most common type, where the heart beats irregularly and faster than normal
  • supraventricular tachycardia – episodes of abnormally fast heart rate at rest
  • bradycardia – the heart beats more slowly than normal
  • heart block – the heart beats more slowly than normal and can cause people to collapse
  • ventricular fibrillation – a rare, rapid and disorganised rhythm of heartbeats that rapidly leads to loss of consciousness and sudden death if not treated immediately

Arrhythmias can affect all age groups, but atrial fibrillation is more common in older people. Drinking alcohol in excess or being overweight increases your likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation.

You may also be at risk of developing an arrhythmia if your heart tissue is damaged because of an illness – for example, if you have had a heart attack or have heart failure.




Atrial fibrillation is a common cause of stroke. Having atrial fibrillation means your risk of stroke is 5 times higher than for someone whose heart rhythm is normal.

Certain types of arrhythmia occur in people with severe heart conditions, and can cause sudden cardiac death. This kills 100,000 people in the UK every year. Some of these deaths could be avoided if the arrhythmias were diagnosed earlier.

Common triggers for an arrhythmia are viral illnesses, alcohol, tobacco, changes in posture, exercise, drinks containing caffeine, certain over-the-counter and prescribed medicines, and illegal recreational drugs.

Source: NHS England 

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Source: Daily Mail | Health News




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