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03 Jul 2024 by khirtenlehner

Successful cardiac shock wave therapy: The CAST-HF study

LBI Trauma is pleased to announce the publication of the CAST-HF study, in which Wolfgang Schaden, clinical head of our shock wave group, played a key role. This study, published in the renowned European Heart Journal, shows that the combination of cardiac shock wave therapy with coronary bypass surgery can significantly improve heart function in patients with ischaemic heart failure.

Heart failure due to poor blood flow is one of the most common causes of heart problems. Although surgical interventions such as coronary bypass surgery can alleviate symptoms, they often improve heart function only to a limited extent. The CAST-HF study, led and conducted at MedUni Innsbruck, shows that cardiac shock wave therapy can significantly improve heart function by promoting blood vessel formation and regeneration of the heart muscle. In this revolutionary method, which is not only easy to implement but also very safe, special sound waves are applied directly to the heart tissue, activating the body’s natural healing processes.

In the study, a randomly selected half of the 63 participating bypass patients were treated with shock waves, while the other group received a harmless sham treatment. The result: one year after the bypass operation, the patients who received the new shockwave treatment had significantly improved heart function: not only were they able to walk further – i.e. they were fitter – but they also reported an improved quality of life.

The publication received a great deal of media attention, including from ORF and even the British BBC, which charmingly referred to the method as a “space hair dryer”. A documentary about the study and the history of shockwave therapy, produced by Christian Kugler, is available on our website with the kind permission of ORF: Healing Explosions.

The first author and project manager of the study was Johannes Holfeld from the Department of Cardiac Surgery at MedUni Innsbruck, the last author was Clinic Director Michael Grimm. Wolfgang Schaden, crowned “Shockwave Pope” by ORF, contributed his decades of experience in the development and establishment of shockwaves for medical purposes. This publication is another outstanding success of our partnerships in the Austrian Cluster for Tissue Regeneration and the synergies it creates, and could be a ground-breaking success for the treatment of heart failure.

You can find the full article in the European Heart Journal.

a. Johannes Holfeld (r) holds the shock wave device during a bypass operation. (Photo: University Clinic for Cardiac Surgery / MUI)