Most people know Botox (Botulinum toxin) as the ‘wonder injection’ that magically removes facial wrinkles in ageing celebrities and film stars. A growing number of well-heeled high society folk also seem to be turning to it maintain their beautiful looks. But now it seems Botox may be useful in matters of the heart and not just beauty alone.According to a recent American Heart Association (AHA) rapid access journal report, Botox has been found to control sporadic heartbeats post a bypass surgery in a study published in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. These irregular heartbeats are called Atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition that can lead to stroke and cardiac complications.

“About a third of all patients undergoing bypass surgery will develop atrial fibrillation, putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular complications. Atrial fibrillation is also always associated with lengthened hospitalization and that means increased healthcare costs.”

Jonathan S. Steinberg, M.D., senior study author and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester on ScienceDaily.

To demonstrate the effect of Botox, scientists randomly injected 60 patients at two Russian hospitals with either saline or Botox injections in the fat pads surrounding the heart during the Bypass surgeries. However, in order to avoid a prejudiced verdict, neither the doctors nor the patients knew which injection had been given to whom. Studies after a month showed that the patients injected with saline had a 30% chance of developing AF; compared to 7% for those with Botox. A year later, the Botox patients were totally AF-free, whereas 27% of the saline-injected patients, were diagnosed with AF.

Obviously, these findings need to be replicated in larger studies before Botox is adopted as a standard practice for bypass surgeries. But if confirmed as beneficial in bypass surgery, then Botox may also be used to prevent AF in people undergoing heart valve replacement or repair.




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