After a massive heart attack, blocked arteries prevent blood flow to organs causing tissue and muscle death and a third of patients go on to suffer heart failures.
Millions of heart failure patients can now be saved with the new stem cell therapy, currently
being tested in Britain. This breakthrough treatment would cut out the need for operations by restoring damaged tissues using cells harvested from patient’s blood.
The most convenient aspect of this treatment is that majority of the therapy could take place at home and the time between a major heart attack and the organ transformation can be narrowed to a few months, as reported by Daily Express. One in five people suffering from major cardiac arrests benefit from this therapy.
According to Dr John Hung, a cardiology specialist working on trials in Edinburgh, the treatment has capability to slash the costs for future heart patients.
Professor David Newby, of the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence at the University of Edinburgh, said that even though the heart undergoes some ‘natural repair and recovery’ following a heart attack, patients taking part in the pilot study showed “significant” improvements in a shorter space of time.
The experimental procedure boosts natural healing processes by delivering large number of specific stem cells to repair ruptured muscle and connect small blood vessels.
Current methods used to repair heart damage use non-specific stem cells extracted from bone marrow rather than blood. The breakthrough treatment instead selects specific CD34+ stem cells, collected in large quantities and sends it to the heart through blood vessels.
Experts claim that if testing goes according to plan, then it could mark the end of current alternative treatments transplant by open heart surgery and overreliance on drugs for treatment.