News | March 11, 2011

Erectile Dysfunction Drug Improves Exercise Performance in Children With Heart Disease

March 11, 2011 – Sildenafil, a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension, has another possible use – helping children and young adults with congenital heart disease to better tolerate exercise. The drug significantly improved measures of exercise performance during stress testing in patients with single-ventricle heart disease, according to researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

This study was published online in the journal Circulation. It is the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial to evaluate the impact of the drug on measures of exercise performance in children and young adults with single-ventricle heart disease.

All patients involved in the study had earlier undergone the Fontan operation, a procedure that redirects systemic venous blood directly to the pulmonary arteries, bypassing the heart. It is the third operation in a staged series of surgeries for single-ventricle heart defects, life-threatening conditions in which a child is born with severe underdevelopment of one of the pumping chambers of the heart.

"Despite dramatically improved early operative success achieved over the past 20 years, morbidity and mortality are still a challenge for children who have undergone a Fontan operation," said David J. Goldberg, M.D., pediatric cardiologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and primary investigator of this study. "The staged palliation does not recreate a normal two-ventricle circulation, instead the series of surgeries creates a unique physiology in which exercise capacity is dramatically diminished."

In this study, researchers randomized 28 children and young adults who had undergone the Fontan operation an average of 11 years earlier to receive either placebo or sildenafil three times a day for six weeks. After a six week break from treatment, subjects were switched to the opposite treatment course. As a "proof-of-concept" study, the researchers selected a relatively healthy cohort of subjects without significant complications that they felt would have sufficient exercise capacity to complete the study.

The researchers found significant improvements in exercise performance during treatment with sildenafil compared to placebo. The findings included improved ventilatory efficiency and, in two subgroups of patients, an improved ability to perform moderate levels of exercise. These changes suggest an overall improvement in the physiology associated with this unique circulation.

"The enhanced exercise performance that we found in the study is exciting and may lead to an improvement in day to day activities for these children and young adults," Goldberg said. "However, it is important to note that while the results of this study are encouraging, more work is needed to determine whether the short-term benefit found in this study holds up over a longer period of time and whether there are any long-term side effects."

"If the results from this preliminary study are validated in a larger sample over a longer period of time, it may be that this medication has the potential to improve quality of life for patients born with only one ventricle," Goldberg concluded.

For more information: www.chop.edu

Related Content

Pregnancy-Related Heart Failure Strikes Black Women Twice as Often as Other Races
News | Womens Healthcare| October 19, 2017
African American women were found to be twice as likely to be diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy as compared to...
MRI May Predict Neurological Outcomes for Cardiac Arrest Survivors
News | Sudden Cardiac Arrest| October 18, 2017
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based measurements of the functional connections in the brain can help predict long-...
Xarelto Significantly Reduces Major Cardioavascular Events in Stable CAD and PAD Patients
News | Pharmaceuticals| October 18, 2017
October 18, 2017 — Results from the pivotal Phase 3 COMPASS study found that the...
First Patient Enrolled in U.S. Arm of ALIVE Pivotal Heart Failure Trial
News | Heart Failure| October 17, 2017
October 17, 2017 — BioVentrix Inc. recently announced enrollment of the first patient in the U.S.
Low Mortality and Stroke Risks Displayed for Minimally Invasive Aortic Valve Replacements
News | Heart Valve Technology| October 11, 2017
An analysis of more than 1,000 minimally invasive aortic valve replacements and more than 400 additional associated...
New Evaluation Sends Low-Risk ER Chest Pain Patients Home Sooner
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| October 10, 2017
A new evaluation to determine whether emergency room patients with chest pain can go home and follow up with their...
News | Pharmaceuticals| October 04, 2017
October 4, 2017 — MyoKardia Inc.
Medtronic Announces Post-Market Study for CoreValve Evolut Pro System
News | Heart Valve Technology| October 02, 2017
Medtronic plc recently announced a new post-market clinical study to evaluate its CoreValve Evolut Pro valve in...
BioCardia Announces 12-Month Results from TRIDENT Trial of Stem Cell Delivery System
News | Stem Cell Therapies| September 26, 2017
BioCardia Inc. recently announced 12-month results from the Phase II TRIDENT clinical trial, conducted by the...
News | Vena Cava Filters| September 26, 2017
September 26, 2017 — The one-year results of the SENTRY...
Overlay Init