Atrial Fibrillation is the most common – age related – heart disease and can cause serious complications such as heart failure and stroke. Each year, 20,000 patients get diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation in the Netherlands and this number is still rising. 30% of patients who get treated with an open heart surgery develop Atrial Fibrillation.
Atrial Fibrillation changes over time from short-term attacks to a heart rhythm disorder that persists permanently. This is caused by Atrial Fibrillation inducing electrical and structural changes (“electro-pathology”) in the atria.
Atrial Fibrillation treatment
Several treatments have been used to treat Atrial Fibrillation. However, none of these treatments are focused on ‘curing’ Atrial Fibrillation.
Recent results by our research group have shown that medication that stimulates cardioprotective proteins within heart cells (i.e. Heat Shock Proteins (HSP)) prevent Atrial Fibrillation within animal models.
The so called ‘L-Glutamine’ happens to be a compound stimulating the development of HSPs within the heart.
Previous research has shown that L-Glutamine administered to patients at the intensive care lead to:
- reductions in inflammations
- a higher rate of survival
- attenuate heart damage caused by ischemia
- reduce reperfusion damage
Atrial Fibrillation and Glutamine
Glutamines are non-toxic and are registered as medicine in the Netherlands. However, glutamines are not registered as a treatment option for Atrial Fibrillation.
In this research request we want to show that L-Glutamine:
- increases HSP levels within heart muscle tissue
- decreases the probability of ‘new’ AF development after open heart surgery
- decreases AF recurrences after electrical cardioversion, ablation therapy or current drug-based rhythm check therapy.
Additionally, we want to study whether age or gender related effects of L-Glutamine supplements on electropathology exist through quantification of:
- Structural remodeling (test for correlation of biomarkers within atrial tissue and blood)
- Electrical remodeling (measure level of arrhythmogenic signals via epicardial, high resolution mapping)
- Measure the frequency and length of AF episodes (AF burden)
Positive results of our first therapeutic study, focused on the recovery of the atrial heart muscle cell and thereby resulting in a reduction in AF burden, will be a true breakthrough in the treatment of patients suffering from Atrial Fibrillation.