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New drug to bring hope for heart victims.

A CLOT-BUSTING drug and 10-minute spurts of exercise have been found to grow new blood vessels in children with heart disease, it was revealed yesterday.

Researchers in Japan studied seven children and teenagers, aged six to 19, who had a totally blocked artery and could not be helped by surgery.

They were asked to exercise on a bicycle machine twice a day for 10 days and given the anti-clotting drug heparin before each session.

X-rays showed that over a five-month period a network of tiny new blood vessels formed in two of the patients.

In every case, the therapy increased the size of the blocked artery allowing more blood to pass through.

In all seven individuals, the treatment was associated with improved blood flow to the heart muscle in the areas around the blockage.

The youngsters were suffering from Kawasaki Disease, a condition of unknown cause that affects children and can damage the heart.

Together with acute rheumatic fever, it is one of the leading causes of heart disease in children.

Dr Masaru Terai, from Chiba University School of Medicine in Japan and co-author of the study, said: "The heparin and exercise treatment protocol seems remarkably safe, inexpensive, and easy to perform.

"KD patients who have developed some collateral circulation for a blocked artery are good candidates for this therapy."

The findings were published in the American Heart Association journal.

German medics revealed yesterday they have turned a vein into an artery using keyhole surgery to divert blood flow in a patient with blocked coronory arteries.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 29, 2001
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