Las Vegas, NV — (SBWIRE) — 07/18/2012 — A new study, which combines four clinical trials, provides hope for heart failure patients in the form of treatment with testosterone.
The four trials, while small, showed a moderate improvement in patients with chronic stable heart failure, with some subjects experiencing a 50 percent enhancement in their capacity to walk, which is linked to the testosterone’s ability to help improve exercise endurance and the shortness of breath associated with heart failure patients.
The lead study author, Dr. Justin Z. Ezekowitz, cautioned that because of the small number of subjects – just 198 across the four trials – there was much more work to be done to determine the efficacy of testosterone across a broad spectrum of patients. Ezekowitz, who is the Heart Function Clinic director at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, further clarified that just because of the positive outlook from this study “We don’t want patients and their loved ones rushing to physicians to misinterpret the findings.”
Current treatments for heart failure patients include the use of blood pressure drugs to help lessen the workload on the heart muscle, and diuretics which help to deal with fluid buildup in the body as a result of reduced heart function. Testosterone was of interest in relation to heart failure because low levels of the hormone are considered a risk factor for bad outcomes of heart failure, as well as decreased survival rates in cases of coronary artery disease. Furthermore, supplementing with testosterone has been linked to improved cholesterol in men suffering from heart disease.
Testosterone treatment remains a promising area of research for heart failure sufferers, and the positive results of this study should be followed up by more extensive research to determine the level of effectiveness, as well as the risk factors associated with treating with testosterone.