A heart attack caused by a loss of blood supply which leads to the death of a segment of heart muscle The blood is usually cut off when an artery supplying the heart muscle is blocked by a blood clot.
Patients are more likely to have another attack or stroke after months of a heart attack. Now, a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reveals what happens inside blood vessels which increases the risk of getting a stroke again. This new study also suggests a new way to treat it.
What did they do in their study?
Researchers used mice as a test model in their study and found that heart attacks lead to inflammatory cells and platelets to more easily stick to the inner lining of arteries throughout the body. This adherence predominantly occurs where there was already plaque, according to the paper. The researchers discovered the sticky cells and platelets by using unique forms of ultrasound imaging they developed to view molecules on the lining of blood vessels.
After that researchers treated mice (experienced with a heart attack or stroke ) with an antioxidant like apocynin and found that this powerful antioxidant cut plaque build-up in half and lowered inflammation to pre-attack.
Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. They are also available as dietary supplements.
“Knowing that newer forms of antioxidants such as apocynin can lower the risk of a second heart attack or stroke gives us a new treatment to explore and could one day help reduce heart attacks and strokes,” said the paper’s corresponding author, Jonathan R. Lindner, M.D., a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the OHSU School of Medicine.
This research could help explain why the recent Canakinumab Anti-inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Study, also known as the CANTOS clinical trial, found an anti-inflammatory drug already approved to treat juvenile arthritis also reduced the risk of a second heart attack in trial participants by 15 percent.
The next step
With this study in mind, researchers are further exploring how the relative stickiness of remote arteries affects the risks of additional heart attacks and strokes and are also finding new therapies beyond antioxidants.