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Can Stem Cell Treatments Aid in Recovery from a Heart Attack?

Posted by Douglas W. Stoddard MD, M Sp Med, Dip Sport Med, ES on 14 August 2017
Can Stem Cell Treatments Aid in Recovery from a Heart Attack?

Myocardial infarctions, better known as heart attacks, strike almost 600,000 people every year. Advances in medical technology and the skill of medical practitioners have improved recovery rates better than ever. However, it's still a traumatic event that heavily damages the heart, surrounding it with scar tissue.

Consequently, medical researchers are attempting to reverse and prevent the damage from a heart attack with various stem cell therapies for the heart.

How Scar Tissue Build-Up Damages the Heart

The heart attempts to heal itself by changing the damaged or dead cells into scar tissue, creating an influx which surrounds the heart.

Unlike heart muscle tissue, scar tissue does not contract, making it incapable of helping the heart pump. Scar tissue restricts the ability to fill the heart with blood between beats, disrupting rhythm and leading to heart failure.

How Can Stem Cells Help the Heart?

Doubters question whether stem cells could affect a human heart, since they typically derive from bone.

But research suggests stem cell injections can help fight inflammation, revitalize existing heart cells, or encourage cells to divide or promote new blood-vessel growth.

Proof is in the Stem-Cell Pudding

In a study funded by the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), cardiosphere-derived cells were extracted from heart attack patients. In layman's terms, these are cells taken from the healthier regions of the heart.

A sample size of patients were given an infusion of the healthy cells into the artery where the blockage occurred. Over time, the patients showed a decrease in scar tissue and an increase in viable heart muscle tissue. The findings suggest that heart muscle scarring can be treated and restored with regenerative-based, stem cell therapies.

Stem Cell Studies are Multiplyinglike Stem Cells:

  • Australiabased Mesoblast is treating hundreds of chronic heart failure patients with stem cell precursors drawn from healthy donors' hip bones. Early trials show patients have no further problems from heart failure.
  • Belgium-based TiGenix is attempting to attack scar tissue before it forms, treating patients with a mixture of heart stem cells within seven days of a heart attack.

Speaking from the Heart

Given stem cell and PRP therapies' roles in repairing muscles, tendons, and cartilage damage, treating scar tissue buildup around the heart doesn't seem like a big stretch. After all, the heart is a muscular organ.

These are promising results for regenerative medicine and heart attack victims alike.  While some trials can be perceived as gimmicky, exploitative money grabs, these studies appear to be in the name of genuine advances in medical research.


At RegenerVate, we may not be treating heart attack patients, but our numerous stem cell and PRP therapies can treat chest muscle pain, pectoral tears, and sternocostal arthritis. We also treat osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, meniscal tears, and a laundry list of other chronic ailments!

Contact us today for more information on our stem cell injections, and PRP therapies!

Author: Douglas W. Stoddard MD, M Sp Med, Dip Sport Med, ES
About: Dr. Stoddard is a sport medicine and injection physician in Toronto and is the Medical Director of RegenerVate. After receiving his medical degree from the University of Toronto, he trained in Australia at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, obtaining his Master Degree in Sport Medicine. His injection training, including ultrasound, PRP and Prolotherapy, was primarily done in the USA. He is a diplomat of the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM), is married and a proud father of two boys. He is an avid triathlete and occasional guitar player.
Tags: Treatment Options Stem Cell Research

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