Red wine antioxidants used in novel heart procedure

Antioxidant compounds found in red wine are advancing the treatment of heart disease.

Researchers from Louisiana State University are developing a new type of stent that slowly releases red wine antioxidants. The compounds, resveratrol and quercetin, promote healing and help to prevent blood clots and inflammation.

Heart disease occurs when plaque builds up within artery walls blocking the blood flow through tissues in the body, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

During the procedure (called a coronary angioplasty) a surgeon inserts and inflates a tiny balloon inside a blocked or narrow artery to widen it and allow blood to flow through to the heart, thereby decreasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. This procedure often includes inserting a stent, a small mesh tube, to support the blood vessel.

Commercial stents can release chemotherapy agents that are toxic and can cause the blood vessel to narrow again. Tammy Dugas, the biomedical sciences professor behind the development, said: ‘By delivering red wine antioxidants during conventional angioplasty, it may be possible to prevent excess tissue from building up and the blood vessel from narrowing again as it heals.’

The researchers are also developing a balloon coated with the same compounds to treat blood flow blockages throughout the body called peripheral artery disease.

Drug-coated balloons are a relatively new product, and are being developed to help interventional cardiologists treat arteries that are difficult to target with traditional angioplasty and stent treatments.