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New medication dramatically decreases congestive heart failure in African-American patients

DALLAS Nov. 8, 2004 A new medication has dramatically reduced mortality among African-American patients suffering from heart disease, according to results of a study including UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers.

The results were so favorable that investigators halted the multi-center trial so that all the 1,050 study participants suffering from advanced heart failure, including those on a placebo, could be given the combined drug treatment, said Dr. Clyde Yancy, a study author and director of the Congestive Heart Failure/Transplant Program at UT Southwestern/St. Paul University Medical Center.

"We discovered that patients were indeed living longer and that their incidence of death was dramatically less," said Dr. Yancy, professor of internal medicine.

A 43 percent decrease in the one-year mortality rates among African-Americans in the study receiving the combined treatment was observed by Dr. Yancy and his UT Southwestern colleagues, working in conjunction with University of Minnesota researchers. Participants, which included patients 18 years of age and older who had a heart failure diagnosis for at least three months, were recruited from 161 medical centers.

Dr. Yancy said the findings, published in the Nov. 11 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine, will have a substantial impact on the treatment of cardiovascular disease for African-Americans.

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the African-American community," Dr. Yancy said. "We were trying to find the best treatment for a disease that happens to be in a specific population."

The clinical trial, called the African-American Heart Failure Trial, or A-HeFT, used a combination of hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate, two older drugs that had been used in the past to treat various heart conditions and are now being used in a new combination called BiDil.

In addition, study participants must have received standard therapy for their heart d
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Contact: Katherine Morales
Katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
8-Nov-2004


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