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Heart failure will likely increase as the population ages

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Hypertension often leads to increased wall stress, resulting in cardiac hypertrophy, which is a predictor of heart failure.

"The heart failure syndrome is one the most common chronic diseases in western countries with poor prognosis. In view of the estimated aging of our society, it will gain further importance," researchers in Germany report.

"Hypertension or myocardial infarction are the main causes of chronic heart failure, accounting for about three quarters of the cases. In hypertension, pressure overload of the heart leads to an increase in wall stress," wrote H. Kilter and colleagues, University of Saarland.

"This frequently results in cardiac hypertrophy, which is induced by the mechanical stress on the cardiomyocytes and the activation of neuroendocrine mechanisms, particularly the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and the sympathetic nervous system. Myocardial hypertrophy represents an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events and is a powerful predictor for the development of heart failure," the researchers stated.

"The signal transduction pathways leading to the transition from compensated hypertrophy to heart failure are subject of intensive research. The knowledge of the maladaptive signaling pathways may be the basis for new therapeutic strategies in the prevention and management of heart failure," the researchers concluded.

Kilter and colleagues published their study in Herz (From hypertension to heart failure - a pathophysiological continuum. Herz, 2004;29(3):239-247).

For additional information, contact M. Bohm, University of Saarland, Medical University Klinik & Poliklinik, D-66421 Homburg, Germany.

Publisher contact information for the journal Herz is: Urban & Vogel, Neumarkter Strasse 43, D-81673 Munich, Germany.

The information in this article comes under the major subject area of Cardiology. This article was prepared by Biotech Law Weekly editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2004, Biotech Law Weekly via

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