Nav: Home

Atrial fibrillation: New marker for atrial damage discovered

July 24, 2019

Atrial fibrillation is a common abnormal heart rhythm. It is treated either with medications or by applying heat or extreme cold to destroy small specific tissue areas in the atrium. This inevitably causes small wounds. A team at the Cardiac and Vascular Surgery Unit of the German Heart Center Munich (DHM) of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now discovered a blood-borne marker that quickly reveals the extent of such wounds, allowing healing and the success of the intervention to be monitored precisely.

Atrial fibrillation leads to a persistent irregular - often accelerated - heartbeat. While the condition is not life-threatening, if left untreated it can lead to serious complications such as stroke or heart failure. It is caused by areas of the heart that hinder the normal conduction of electrical impulses so that the atrium no longer contracts rhythmically," explains Professor Rüdiger Lange, Director of the Cardiac and Vascular Surgery Unit of the German Heart Center Munich.

Ablation is a procedure in which specific regions of the atrium are destroyed by applying heat or extreme cold to reroute the paths of electrical conduction and correct the abnormality.

Atrial protein as a potential biomarker

Two years ago, Privatdozent Dr. Markus Krane, Deputy Director of the Cardiac and Vascular Surgery Unit at the DHM und Professor Matthias Mann of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry compiled an Atlas of the Heart. In the process, they discovered the protein myosin binding protein H-like (MYBPHL), which exists in two forms and exhibits an important characteristic: in humans, one of the forms, isoform 2, occurs only in the atria of the heart. Most other proteins in the heart, by contrast, are just as likely to occur in other cardiac regions as well.

The researchers therefore wondered whether MYBPHL might serve as a blood-borne marker for atrial tissue damage. "Markers are particularly important in cardiac medicine for predicting and assessing progress, because early recognition of problems in such a vital organ as the heart can save many lives," says Markus Krane.

Elevated blood levels following injury

The scientists tested over a hundred blood samples from patients with atrial fibrillation in whom ablation had been performed. They found that levels of MYBPHL in the blood were highest immediately after ablation when the patients arrived at the intensive care unit and then gradually declined over the next 24 hours. Patients who underwent cardiac valve surgery without atrial intervention, for example, did not show increased levels of the protein, which remained at the same levels as in the healthy control group.

"In this way we're able to assess the extent of atrial damage and predict the patient's progress by means of a simple blood test. This is only possible because the new marker has the considerable advantage that it is highly specific to atrial tissue. If levels of the new marker decrease while other markers for myocardial damage remain high, it can be assumed that other problems are at play, which we can then target early with additional tests and therapeutic measures," says Krane.

Development of a rapid blood test planned

In the next step, Krane and his team plan to produce antibodies that only recognize isoform 2, which can then be used in a rapid blood test. Such a standardized test would be suitable for widespread routine use following surgical or interventional procedures that specifically target atrial tissue.
-end-
Contact:

PD Dr. Markus Krane
Cardiac and Vascular Surgery Unit
German Heart Center Munich
Clinic at Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Phone: +49 (0) 89 1218 - 2503
krane@dhm.mhn.de

More information:

Cardiac and Vascular Surgery Unit of the German Heart Center Munich http://www.dhm.mhn.de/de/kliniken_und_institute/klinik_fuer_herz-_und_gefaessc.cfm -

PD Dr. Markus Krane http://www.dhm.mhn.de/de/kliniken_und_institute/klinik_fuer_herz-_und_gefaessc/klinikteam/dr_med_markus_krane.cfm

Profile of Prof. Rüdiger Lange http://www.professoren.tum.de/en/lange-ruediger/

Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Related Atrial Fibrillation Articles:

Eating more protein could help ward off atrial fibrillation in women
Women who ate slightly more than the recommended daily amount of protein were significantly less likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib), a dangerous heart rhythm disorder that can lead to stroke and heart failure, when compared with those who consumed less protein, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC).
Zebrafish teach researchers more about atrial fibrillation
Genetic research in zebrafish at the University of Copenhagen has surprised the researchers behind the study.
Personalized medicine for atrial fibrillation
The study, published in Europace, uses signals from implantable devices -- pacemakers and defibrillators -- to analyze electrical signals in the heart during episodes of atrial fibrillation.
Prescribing anticoagulants in the ED for atrial fibrillation increases long-term use by 30%
Patients prescribed anticoagulants after a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation in the emergency department are more likely to continue long-term use of medications to treat the condition, according to research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Anticoagulant benefits for atrial fibrillation decrease with age
The net clinical benefit of anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation (AF) -- one of the most important causes of irregular heartbeats and a leading cause of stroke -- decreases with age, as the risk of death from other factors diminishes their benefit in older patients, according to a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.
Research improves understanding of mechanism of atrial fibrillation
Mouse model studies show that noncoding DNA regions linked to atrial fibrillation risk can display long-range regulatory functions directed at Pitx2 gene and in this way predispose to the condition.
Medications used to treat atrial fibrillation may raise risk of falls
To prevent atrial fibrillation symptoms, health professionals may treat patients with medications to control their heart rate or rhythm.
Atrial fibrillation: New marker for atrial damage discovered
Atrial fibrillation is a common abnormal heart rhythm. It is treated either with medications or by applying heat or extreme cold to destroy small specific tissue areas in the atrium.
Former NFL players may face higher risk of atrial fibrillation
Former National Football League (NFL) players were nearly 6 times more likely to have atrial fibrillation (AF), a type of irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke.
New technology improves atrial fibrillation detection after stroke
It's important to determine whether stroke patients also experience atrial fibrillation (Afib).
More Atrial Fibrillation News and Atrial Fibrillation Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.