No. 7 Innovation: Hope for Acute Heart Failure (Video)

The first treatment breakthrough in two decades: serelaxin

Stethoscope

Cleveland Clinic asked more than 100 of its top experts about the innovations set to reshape healthcare in the coming year. These are their answers — the Top 10 Innovations for 2014.

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Heart failure affects both the length and quality of life. This debilitating ailment accounts for 55,000 deaths annually in this country.

Even with improved drugs and devices, half of those hospitalized with acute heart failure don’t survive more than five years; 25 percent die within a year of admission. However, cardiologists soon may have a new weapon in their heart failure armory — serelaxin, which can relieve symptoms and protect vital organs from damage during an acute episode.

A drug with breakthrough status

Serelaxin, a synthetic version of the naturally occurring hormone human relaxin-2, has improved acute heart failure symptoms in clinical trials. The drug is infused over a 48-hour period following a heart failure episode or heart attack.

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Serelaxin will become the first treatment breakthrough for acute heart failure in two decades.

In people with heart failure, serelaxin increases blood flow throughout the body, which helps a poorly functioning heart work more effectively. It is also an anti-inflammatory, which means it can help prevent the damage heart failure does to the kidneys, liver and heart.

Phase III study results reported a 38 percent reduction in death rates after six months in patients with acute heart failure, compared to those who received standard therapy. Because of these impressive results, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the investigational heart drug “breakthrough status” in 2013 — putting it on a faster track for approval.

Once approved, serelaxin will become the first treatment breakthrough for acute heart failure in two decades.

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