Oct 27, 2017
By Jane Brown
If you can arrange it, a new study suggests having heart surgery in the afternoon.
In a new paper, researchers suggest not only that the cells in our heart have the same circadian rhythm, but that this rhythm may determine how we fare after heart surgery.
The authors compare patients who received heart valve replacement in either morning and afternoon surgeries.
Patients in the afternoon had better short-term outcomes, and possibly better long-term outcomes.
To see if this effect was truly from circadian rhythms, the authors tried an experiment in mice — changing their circadian rhythm genes, and found that they fared better as well.
This study suggests that patients receiving heart surgeries may do better depending on the time of day that the surgery is done, or that in the future, drugs made to trick the heart into thinking it’s a different time of day could improve clinical outcomes.
The research is in the Lancet. (ABC)