Tag Archives: heart attack

Stem Cells Reverse Heart Damage

Via Newsy.com

By AlysaCartee, Anchor Megan Murphy

A breakthrough discovery in stem cell treatments. A patient’s own stem cells could actually regenerate the heart after a heart attack. WFLD explains the findings.

“The studies found that recent heart attack victims who receive stem cell infusions had a drop in unhealthy heart scar tissue from 24 to 12 percent.”

The procedure is minimally invasive. A catheter is inserted through the patient’s vein and a piece of heart muscle about the size of a peppercorn is removed.

That biopsied tissue is then grown in a petri dish and reintroduced to the damaged portion of the heart. This new procedure could change the way heart attacks are treated. ABC reports the typical damage a heart attack leaves and the limited options for treatment.

“The damaged scar tissue that results from a heart attack diminishes heart function, which can ultimately lead to enlargement of the heart. At best … there are measures doctors can try to reduce or compensate for the damage, but in many cases, heart failure ultimately sets in, often requiring mechanical support or a transplant.”

But the new treatment challenges the conventional wisdom that once the heart is damaged, it can’t be repaired. Doctor Sanjay Gupta told CNN this breakthrough in the use of stem cells means a few different things for the medical community.

“We’ve been talking about the promise of stem cells for so long but people have really yet to see it in action. … It really proved two things. First of all that this could be done safely. That’s always the first question. And second that it provided some benefit.”

As Fox News reports, the study is positive — but there are a few mysteries that need to be solved.

“…while the patients grew new heart muscle and saw a dramatic reduction in scar tissue, the actual function of their hearts did not show a significant improvement. And it appeared the stem cells themselves may not have turned into cardiac muscle, but rather they stimulated the heart to produce new muscle cells.”

Researchers will follow the patients who received the treatment to document long term effects, and a follow up study is planned for later this year.