Printer Friendly

The importance of having collateral.

The body has a backup system for bringing blood to the heart muscle. And the extent of the backup system may determine an individual's likelihood of surviving a heart attack, according to Marc Cohen and Peter Rentrop of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

The heart muscle is fed by coronary arteries; when a large one is blocked, the backup system--nearby collateral arteries--sometimes fills in. But often the process is not enough to keep a critical situation from becoming fata. While people who have good collateral development following a heart attack are generally thought to have a better prognosis than those who don't, this is the first trial to show that some people have a better collateral system than others even before a heart attack occurs, Cohen says.

The collateral aren't used by healthy hearts, so to get a picture of them Cohen and Rentrop took advantage of coronary angioplasty (SN: 11/29/80, p. 341). In the process, a tiny balloon is threaded into a clogged coronary artery and inflated, enlarging the bore of the vessel. Heart muscle downstream from the balloon is temporarily deprived of blood flow, creating a mini (and reversible) heart attack.

Cohen and Rentrop injected a radiopaque dye into the hearts of 21 patients getting coronary angiplasty and used X-rays to wacth the dye backflow into the blood-starved area. They found differing degrees of filling, and in two patients no filling. Patients with a better collateral system had a smaller segment of the heart that stopped moving when the blood supply was down, and patients without collaterals had a larger segment that stopped moving, Cohen says. Why some people have better collaterals, and thus a better chance of surviving a heart attack, than other remains to be determined, he says.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:research on backup system of coronary arteries
Author:Silberner, Joanne
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 23, 1985
Previous Article:The heart and heredity.
Next Article:Listen to the ears.

Related Articles
Growth factors boost heart's blood flow.
Percutaneous intervention of left main coronary artery disease: a fresh look at a class III recommendation.
3 incumbents retain seats on school boards.
Progressive MS.
What we are doing about symptoms that can't be measured easily.
Stem cells & MS: what the investigators see.
Employers put teens at risk, study says.
Genesis meets the Big Bang and evolution, absent design.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters