Best known for smoothing facial wrinkles, the neurotoxin Botox could one day have a new use: stopping an abnormal heart rhythm that sometimes develops after heart surgery.
Researchers injected botulinum neurotoxin, sold as Botox, into five fatty areas around the hearts of patients having surgery at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Sixty-three patients received Botox and 67 others were injected with a placebo during coronary bypass surgery, heart valve surgery or both.
Post-surgery AFib occurred in 23 patients receiving Botox compared with 32 patients getting a placebo, a difference of 11.3 percent. But that difference wasn’t considered significant enough to prove the approach worked, cautioned researchers, who presented the findings Wednesday at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions.