Allowing the heart to rest for some period after suffering from a heart attack can help it to repair the damage caused to the heart cells.
Doctors often fit a left ventricle assist device (LVAD) in patients who have suffered from heart failure in order to reduce the strain on the heart.
However the new finding by researchers from the Imperial College of London may lead to new treatment strategies that could allow the heart to repair itself.
"The heart can't afford to rest - it has to keep beating continuously. LVADs reduce the load on the heart while maintaining the supply of blood to the body, and this seems to help the heart recover", lead researcher Dr Cesare Terracciano said.