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November 27th, 2009
Children with Heart Defects Can Benefit from Viagra

The infamous erectile dysfunction prescription drug sildenafil, more commonly known as Viagra, has been found to increase the pumping ability of the heart for children and young adults who’ve had the Fontan operation that fixes single-ventricle heart defects, new research has concluded.

The Fontan operation consists of doctors directing venous blood into pulmonary arteries to bypass the heart. This surgery is the third step in a staged reconstruction for children who suffer from single-ventricle defects.

A study was done by researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; the study included 27 children and teenagers who had received the surgery at an average of 11 years earlier. The average age of the patients was 15; each participant was given either 20 milligrams of Viagra or a placebo three times daily for six weeks. This initial stage was then followed by six weeks with no drugs, and then the patients switched to the opposite drug for a final six weeks.

Researchers assessed each participant’s heart function before and after each stage of the research. They found that significant improvements occurred in the myocardial performance index for the Viagra stage as compared to the placebo period. The researchers also found taking the prescription drug enhanced diastolic performance and improved heart output, but not at a rate that was significant.

The average myocardial performance index did not show a difference or improvement in the right ventricular and non-right ventricular dominant subgroup, meaning that the drug is beneficial not depending on ventricular structure.

This research shows that by taking Viagra, young adults and children will improve their ventricular performance and help with exercise performance and providing a better quality of life.

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