A team of researchers at the University of Birmingham may have discovered a method that could greatly benefit patients with cardiac arrhythmias. According to the team, the technique of holding your breath for more than five minutes in a safe way could be used as part of the treatment for this kind of heart condition.
Initially, researchers of the new study wanted to investigate this technique, which involved hyperventilation,to determine if it could be used to diagnose ischaemic heart disease at an early state.Hyperventilation causes temporary constriction in the coronary arteries. The team wanted to know if this effect could be useful to detect coronary heart disease. While the team needs to further explore this possibility, the team claims mechanical hyperventilation was safe for angina patients.
"There is still little awareness of the simplicity, availability, and safety of non-invasive mechanical hyperventilation. We have already shown that patients with breast cancer can breath-hold safely for over five minutes using this technique," Dr Michael Parkes, lead author from the University's School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, told a news portal. Adding, "The fact that patients with angina were able to tolerate mechanical hyperventilation so well confirms its potential to improve the newly emerging procedure of using radiotherapy for cardiac ablation."
Researchers now want to study the effects of this technique on patients with cardiac arrhythmias. The goal is to determine if patients can hold their breath long enough to be able to apply radiotherapy.
"Stopping breathing with a safe breath-hold of over five minutes, using mechanically induced hypocapnia and now with oxygen enriched air, could allow surgeons to target the radiotherapy for cardiac ablation much more precisely. The advantage of radiotherapy over radiofrequency or freezing is that radiotherapy is completely non-invasive and is applied from outside the chest," Dr Michael Parkes told a news portal.
Adding, "Whereas the other techniques require a catheter, passed via a vein in the groin or artery in the neck, to be placed inside the atria in the heart . Currently such radiotherapy is being considered only when all other ablation and pharmacological techniques have failed."
The study's findings were originally published in Frontiers in Physiology.
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