Credit: Getty Images

The blood pressure drug aliskiren can delay the progression of congestive heart failure and extend survival rates, according to a preclinical study in mice by researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

The research team used a new technology to evaluate changes in muscle mass and fluid retention over time. They found that aliskiren blocked muscle loss, prevented fluid retention and appeared to lengthen life by 5.6 years, said lead author Ryan Sullivan, DVM.

“This FDA-approved drug has the potential to improve the quality and extend the life in properly identified heart-failure patients,” Sullivan said.

Heart failure is the principal diagnosis for Medicare recipients. More than 5 million Americans live with congestive heart failure, a chronic progressive condition that occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should.