Heart :: $15M Northwestern grant funds heart research

An estimated 100,000 patients who have heart attacks each year are not eligible for life-saving beta-blocker drug therapy because their heart rates are too low. Beta-blockers improve survival rates up to 30 percent in people who have had heart attacks by helping to regulate the heartbeat.

Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine has received a $15 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to conduct a national study investigating whether implanting a pacemaker in low-heart rate, heart-attack patients ? which will enable them to take beta-blockers — will also improve survival.

Jeffrey Goldberger, M.D., professor of medicine at Feinberg and director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, is the national principal investigator of the multicenter, randomized clinical research study. The five-year study will enroll 1,124 participants from around the country.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the local site and will enroll 20 to 30 subjects. Other centers are in 27 states, including Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri.

“The study will also help us determine more precisely how frequently low heart rates are a problem in heart attack patients. The current estimates are 5 to 10 percent of 1.5 million heart attack patients yearly,” Goldberger said.

Goldberger noted most of the participants in the study will be patients seen in the hospital after a heart attack. The name of the study is The PACE-MI TRIAL: Pacemaker and Beta-Blocker Therapy after Myocardial Infarction Trial (PACE-MI.)

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