Healing Broken Hearts


By Cile Waller

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- U.S. researchers may have found a new way to mend hearts damaged by a heart attack.

They find infusing the patient’s own bone marrow cells into the coronary artery where the original blockage occurred can lead to long term positive outcomes.

"These results show that treatment with a patient’s own bone marrow stem cells has the potential to reduce long-term complications after a heart attack,” study author Arshed Quyyumi, M.D., was quoted as saying. “We are encouraged by these results and are planning to conduct a more extensive study."

The study is similar to others conducted to see if bone marrow cells could have a positive impact on damaged hearts. But unlike those studies, which found mixed results, this one used a preparation of cells enriched with endothelial progenitor cells, which investigators believe play a role in replenishing the linings of blood vessels.

The addition appears to have made a real difference. Compared to patients who received no treatment with bone marrow cells following their heart attacks, those who received the cells had greater improvement in blood flow during follow up testing. People who received the highest dose experienced the most benefit.

"This is critical information for future study design -- the more cells a patient receives, the more beneficial effect we see in the heart," says Dr. Quyyumi.

SOURCE: Presented at the American College of Cardiology conference March 30, 2009

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