Cooling the heart locally diminishes damage to the heart by a coronary

For the first time ever cardiologists of the Catharina Hospital have managed to locally cool a human heart after a coronary. By cooling the heart before and after angioplasty damage to the heart could be diminished according to the cardiologists. Cardiologist Luuk Otterspoor will obtain his doctorate on January 11th at Eindhoven University of Technology on this research. The innovative new procedure has been developed together with TU/e scientists and a TU/e spin-off Life Tec Group. 

Diminish consequential damage by angioplasty

Patients with a coronary could suffer from heart tissue to die down. This is why the blockage of the coronary artery is opened up as quickly as possible during an angioplasty but as soon as the blood starts flowing again, it always causes extra damage to the heart muscle; the heart muscle cells swell up and closes off its own capillaries, causing irreparable damage. 

Cardiologists of the Catharina Heart- and Vascular Centre locally lower the temperature of the heart by 4 to 5 degrees by injecting a fluid just past the blockage in the coronary artery. The affected part of the heart is subsequently cooled for ten minutes after which the coronary artery is opened up by balloon, allowing the blood to flow to the affected part of the heart again. Otterspoor: "We continue to cool the heart for another ten minutes after which a stent is placed at the place of the blockage. 

Ten patients have undergone this new procedure and the method proved to be safe, technically feasible and doable. Cardiologists expect that this new method will lead to improved survival of patients who suffered a coronary and will lead to less heart failure for the rest of their lives. 

European follow-up research

The Catharina Heart- and Vascular Centre will now start a large European follow-up research project to further test the effectiveness of this method and to determine what advantages this procedure has for the patient. The research will be performed by six large European heart centres in Aalst (Belgium), Glasgow (Scotland), Copenhagen (Denmark), Orebro (Sweden), Budapest (Hungary) and the Catharina Hospital. Otterspoor expects to have results in three years. 

The thesis research was performed under the supervision of  prof. dr. Nico Pijls.