Viagra may treat ‘heart disease’

Viagra could provide a treatment for heart disease as well as problems in the bedroom, a study suggests.

In trials, the impotency pill’s active ingredient improved the heart performance of patients with a range of conditions while having no adverse effect on blood pressure.

Most importantly, it helped prevent harmful thickening of the heart’s main pumping chamber caused by the organ having to work too hard.

The condition, known as left ventricular hypertrophy, can lead to heart failure, an inability to pump blood around the body.

“We found that the main ingredient in Viagra can be used as an effective, safe treatment for several patients with heart disease,” said Italian lead researcher Dr Andrea Isidori, from Sapienza University in Rome.

“Large clinical trials are now urgently needed to build on these encouraging findings.”

Viagra contains an enzyme inhibitor that allows smooth muscle tissue to be more relaxed. This in turn aids blood flow and helps combat erectile dysfunction.

The Italian researchers pooled together data from 1622 patients who took part in trials looking at the Viagra ingredient’s heart protection potential.

The chemical, PDE5i, effectively prevented the heart increasing in size and changing shape in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy.

It also benefited patients with other heart conditions while maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Writing in the journal BMC Medicine, the authors conclude that PDE5i could safely be administered to men who suffer from heart muscle thickening and early stage heart failure.

However, they said further research was needed to assess the Viagra ingredient’s effect on women with heart conditions.

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