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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Light shock for heart?

Monday July 7th, 2014

A burst of light might be able to replace electric shock therapy for serious heart rhythm disorders, Dutch researchers have suggested.

The idea was unveiled at a European heart conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Patients currently have to receive an anaesthetic and an electric shock to "reset" the heart to allow it to find a healthy rhythm.

Under the new proposal, light sensitive genes would be inserted into the heart muscle.

Patients would have a mesh of light-emitting diodes inserted into the heart. Whenever the rhythm disorder - atrial defibrillation - occurred the lights would be switched on, leading to a reaction from the light sensitive genes and the heart resetting.

So far the idea has been tested in laboratory experiments on cells from rat hearts, researchers told the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology conference.

Researcher Dr Brian Bingen, from Leiden, the Netherlands, said: “The mechanism we saw was a bit different than the normal defibrillation but was equally effective.

”This is the first evidence of a shockless defibrillation. Our method of using optogenetics to defibrillate by light is completely painless and looks promising but more research is needed before it can be applied in patients.”

Tags: Europe | Heart Health

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