By Dawna Stone
Senior Vice President
Red wine has many health benefits and now it’s even being used in the operating room. This bold idea is just one more of red wine’s growing list of heart health advantages.
Red Wine and Surgery: How Does That Work?
Resveratrol and quercetin are two antioxidant compounds found in red wine that have been proven to not only prevent inflammation and blood clotting, but also promote heart healing and heart health. Tammy Dugas, a professor at Louisiana State University’s Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, is developing a new stent that releases these compounds.
Additionally, resveratrol in particular has been shown to protection against heart disease; the polyphenol also helps prevent age-related memory issues, and even aids the gut’s microbiome.
Doctors use commercial heart stents to keep arteries open in people who suffer from certain heart problems. A surgeon can insert a stent by collapsing it over the balloon-tipped tube (catheter), and then move it to the affected or blocked artery. The balloon is then inflated, the stent expands, and then forms a type of scaffold that is locked in place, permanently holding the artery open.
Stents work by improving blood flow to the heart and relieving symptoms such as chest pain, but with one caveat: they release toxic agents, thus causing blood vessels to narrow. Additionally, in some cases of patients who underwent angioplasty without a stent, the previously opened artery narrows again within months of the surgery. Dr. Dugas’ breakthrough, called restenosis, combats this issue.
“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,” said Dr. Dugas. In addition to the stent Dr. Dugas and her colleagues are working on a balloon coated with the same antioxidants in order to treat peripheral artery disease, or blood flow blockages all over the body— limiting proper blood flow to the arms, legs, kidneys, and stomach. This disease currently affects about 8 to 12 million Americans.
Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, with about 630,000 annual deaths based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the United Kingdom, coronary heart disease is the leading killer in the country as the incurable disease is their most common cause of death for people under the age of 65. It also takes the lives of 38% of men and 37% of women below 75 years old.
Because of these alarming statistics, the continued development of anything that can help alleviate or eradicate the disease could potentially create healthcare disruption and many positive bold impacts to the lives of many people. While physicians often advise their patients to make lifestyle changes such as exercising, stopping smoking, and applying a healthier diet, the only other options people with heart issues have are to take prescribed medicines or undergo surgery.