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Experts from the University of Manchester studied 6,000 diabetic patients who had been prescribed Viagra to treat impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction.
Although it is common for diabetics to have heart problems, the participants did not suffer as many incidents as similar patients not taking Viagra.
Viagra works by helping to relax the blood vessels in your penis.
Viagra belongs to a group of medicines called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i) and experts believe this is the key ingredient which helps prevent damage to heart cells.
Professor Andrew Trafford said: 'Heart failure is a devastating condition which means your heart is not pumping blood around your body as well as it used to.
It can really impact a person's quality of life and currently the outlook for patients with heart failure is grim - worse than that of some cancers.
The team is now assessing whether the same drug can also prevent abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) which are responsible for killing up to half of heart failure patients.
Previous research published in the journal BMC Medicine showed how Viagra (also known as sidenfil citrate) could help to prevent the heart increasing in size and changing shape in patients with a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy.
Our studies have shown that drugs normally used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra, actually have a very pronounced effect in slowing the progression of heart failure as well as reducing the likelihood of fatal arrhythmias.
We have recently established that patients who receive Viagra or similar drugs for erectile dysfunction are also far less likely to then go on and die from a heart attack.'
Viagra was originally developed to treat heart conditions, but during original trails it was found to be more effective at treating erectile dysfunction.
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