When people hear Botox, cosmetic surgery is often the first thing that comes to mind. But the American Heart Association reports that the famous wrinkle-fighter may also improve cardiovascular health.
In a recent study, Botox was found to stave off irregular heart rhythms following bypass surgery. For roughly one-third of patients, an irregular heartbeat (also known as atrial fibrillation or AFib) occurs after the procedure. The condition is associated with dangerous complications like blood clots and heart disease.
So how does Botox fit in? Researchers found that injecting it into the fat that surrounds the heart may decrease the risk of developing AFib after a bypass.
According to the American Heart Association, the study zeroed in on 60 patients who received either Botox injections or saline. In the month that followed the surgery, the Botox patients only had a 7 percent risk of developing AFib. The saline patients had a 30 percent chance.
When researchers checked in with them a year later, they found that over a quarter of saline patients had an irregular heartbeat—but not a single Botox patient had developed AFib.
This isn’t the first line of research to explore the potential health benefits of Botox. One 2014 study out of Australia found it to improve asthma symptoms among treatment-resistant patients. Botox has also been explored for treating urinary incontinence, as well as chronic migraines and excessive sweating.
Botox, which is produced by a bacteria, works by blocking the nerve signals responsible for muscle contraction.