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Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Coronary artery disease | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study evaluated whether stem cell therapy is safe and effective for treating coronary artery disease and heart failure. 

Some background

Coronary artery disease (also known as ischemic heart disease) is a condition that affects the blood supply to the heart. It occurs when blood vessels become narrowed or blocked due to cholesterol and fat deposits in the vessel walls. The narrowed blood vessels decrease the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscles. This can lead to heart failure, which is when the heart becomes too weak or stiff to pump blood efficiently. 

Current treatments for coronary artery disease and heart failure include drug therapy and surgery, but unfortunatley, are not effective for all patients. Recently, stem cells taken from bone marrow have been investigated as a new treatment. Stem cells have the potential to grow and develop into any cell type or tissue in the body, including heart muscle, and can be used to replace damaged or weak heart muscle. 

Methods & findings

This study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of stem cell therapy for treating coronary artery disease and heart failure by reviewing past clinical trials. A total of 23 trials involving more than 1,200 patients were included.

Overall the trials showed that compared to standard treatments, stem cell therapy reduced the long-term risk  (>12 months) of death by 72% and reduced the risk of readmission to hospital due to heart failure by 74%. There was no difference in the occurrence of short-term death (>12 months) showing that stem cell therapy is safe comparing with standard treatments. 

Stem cell therapy also improved long-term heart function as determined by an improvement in ‘left ventricle ejection fraction’ which is a measurement of how well the heart pumps blood. Out of the 1,255 patients included in the study, only 4 individuals reported a short-term adverse event with no long-term adverse events reported.

The bottom line

This study concluded that stem cell treatment might be of benefit in people with both coronary artery disease and with heart failure. Adverse events are rare, with no long-term adverse events reported. 

The fine print

The individual trials used in this study had varying results with not all showing the same strong safety and effectiveness as others. This resulted in a low quality of evidence, indicating that more studies are required. 

What’s next?

If you or someone you know have coronary artery disease or heart failure, talk to a doctor about the benefits of stem cell therapy. 

Published By :

Cochrane database of systematic reviews

Date :

Apr 29, 2014

Original Title :

Stem cell therapy for chronic ischaemic heart disease and congestive heart failure.

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