Saving Lives with Botox
A couple of studies showed that Botox, that cosmetic compound that can reduce wrinkles and enhance lips has another very special use, a life-saving one.
From the SMG Arrhythmia Center at the Summit Medical Group in Short Hills, N.J., Botox injections were given during surgery to temporarily freeze nerve bundles in the heart, preventing the dangerous complication called, atrial fibrillation, or a-fib. Atrial Fibrillation is a common, often deadly, post- operative complication of heart surgery; it is linked to stroke and heart failure.
In the New Jersey study, 60 patients undergoing heart bypass surgery were randomly assigned to either Botox or an inactive placebo. All received implantable cardiac monitors that tracked occurrence of atrial fibrillation. Risk of a-fib dropped immediately after surgery in the Botox group, and fell fivefold to ninefold each year of the three-year follow-up. During follow-up, significantly fewer botox recipients were hospitalized for a-fib or needed treatment for it compared to the placebo group. In heart surgery, Botox appears to interrupt “cardiac neural traffic.”
In another study, at the Cardiomyopathy Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, 130 patients received an injection of either Botox or placebo while undergoing heart bypass surgery. Doctors injected botulinum toxin into fat pads surrounding the heart during cardiac surgery to reduce atrial fibrillation after the surgery. The reduction in a-fib risk was not significant in the botox group, but the episodes were shorter and less severe; may be due to the small size of the study.
The new studies are small but there’s the potential to develop effective and safe strategies to lower a-fib risk post-surgery. Additional studies involving larger numbers of patients are needed. The reports were recently published online in the journal Heart Rhythm.
The Go-To Place for Botox in Tacoma
Over at Botixue in Tacoma, we use the widely accepted and approved indications of Botox. However, it’s great to know that Botox may also be life-saving for heart surgery patients. See us at Botixue soon!