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A scientific journal highlights for the second year in a row a study from the University of Navarra on congestive heart failure

The "Journal of the American College of Cardiology" published in 2006 an article about a new diagnostic marker

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FOTO: Manuel Castells
28/02/07 13:57 Mª Pilar Huarte

Journal of the American College of Cardiology, one of the most important magazines in the world in the field of cardiology, has highlighted for the second year the importance of a study carried out by the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra, which has enabled the identification of a diagnostic marker in order to prevent heart attacks.

The first phase of this study, which is being carried out in the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra, the University Hospital of Donostia and the Guipuzcoa General Hospital, involves 39 patients with hypertension. The second phase of the study, which will begin later this year, will have a greater number of volunteers. "In analyzing these cases, we have found a mechanism that is involved in the deterioration of the systolic system of the heart; or in other words, in the heart's capacity to pump blood," explains Dr. Javier Díez, director of the field of Cardiovascular Science in the CIMA.

According to the specialist, this harmful process consists in the excessive activation of the enzyme metaloproteinasa-1 in the heart, "which provokes the destruction of the framework of the heart cells, hindering its ability to contract in a normal manner."

A guide for protecting the heart

Thanks to the discovery of this enzyme, whose presence can be measured in the blood, "it will be possible to diagnose cardiac problems and write a guide for treatments which deactivate the molecule and protect the heart during the systole," the research director affirms. In this way, it could prevent heart attacks on the part of patients with high blood pressure, which is, according to this expert, "one of the five primary causes of death in Spain, especially among women."

Javier Diez collaborated on this project with Ramón Querejeta, Mariano Larman and two scientists from the University of Navarra, Begoña López and Arantxa González. During its development, the results have been recognized by the Spanish Cardiac Society and published in magazines such as Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine, from the Nature group.