Treatment for heart failure patients could soon include a new type of drug, research has indicated.
Myosin activators help the heart beat more easily by targeting specific proteins to make its muscles contract for longer.
Instead of causing the heart to beat more often, the drugs increase the amount of blood pumped out each time.
The first of these drugs, omecamtiv mecarbil, has been tested by researchers in the UK.
Their findings, published in The Lancet, reveal that the drug significantly improved heart function in 45 patients suffering from heart failure.
Professor John Cleland from the University of Hull, who led the study, said: “The trial proves that the drug can be given safely to patients suffering from heart failure and shows that, at the correct doses and blood plasma concentrations, it can improve heart function and make the heart contract more effectively.”
British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse Natasha Stewart said: “Although there were minimal adverse effects identified in these initial trials, only a small number of participants over a short period of time were involved.”
Heart failure affects more than 750,000 people across the UK.