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Int Heart J. 2014;55(5):433-9. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Thermal vasodilation using a portable infrared thermal blanket in decompensated heart failure.

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Heart Institute (Instituto do Coração - InCor), Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo.


Adjunctive and non-pharmacological therapies, such as heat, for the treatment of heart failure patients have been proposed. Positive results have been obtained in clinically stable patients, but no studies of the use of thermal therapy in patients with decompensated heart failure (DHF) have been reported. An open randomized clinical trial was designed in patients with DHF and controls. We studied 38 patients with a mean age of 56.9 years. A total of 86.8% were men, and 71% had nonischemic myocardiopathy. All participants were using dobutamine, and the median brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) level was 1396 pg/mL. An infrared thermal blanket heated the patients, who were divided into 2 groups: group T (thermal therapy) and group C (control). Group T underwent vasodilation using the thermal blanket at 50°C for 40 minutes in addition to drug treatment. The cardiac index increased by 24.1% (P = 0.009), and systemic vascular resistance decreased by 16.0% in group T (P < 0.024) after thermal therapy. Heat as a vasodilator increased the cardiac index and lowered systemic vascular resistance in DHF patients. These data suggest thermal therapy as a therapeutic approach for the adjuvant treatment of DHF patients.

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