Northwestern Memorial helping to define best treatment for congestive heart failure

CHICAGO -- Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is the only Chicago-area hospital participating in a National Institutes of Health sponsored research study to find a definitive answer to whether medical therapy or surgery is the better option for treating congestive heart failure. In addition, the study will compare coronary artery bypass surgery alone to bypass surgery plus a new procedure called surgical ventricular restoration to see if the combined procedure increases long-term survival and decreases cardiac hospitalization.

The STICH (Surgical Treatments of Ischemic Heart Failure) trial is a worldwide study that will enroll about 2,800 patients at 90 leading medical centers around the world. "Heart failure affects about 5 million Americans and is the most common reason patients seek medical treatment at hospitals," says NMH's lead investigator, Mihai Gheorghiade, M.D., associate chief of the division of cardiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. "Although we've made significant progress with medical therapies for heart failure, the mortality and hospitalizations continue to be unacceptably high. Cardiac transplantation is an option for patients with very severe heart failure, but very few patients (fewer than 2000 per year) receive this treatment due to the small number of donors. The present study is exploring the potential benefits of a new and revolutionary procedure, ventricular reconstruction."

Participants in the research study will have a cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to produce a picture of their heart's structure and function. "Cardiac MRI is making a critical difference in our ability to treat heart failure patients. We can now pinpoint exactly where the problem lies, making it possible to identify candidates and treat the problem with surgical ventricular restoration," says Keith Horvath, M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon at NMH who is

Contact: Amanda Widtfeldt
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

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