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Bone Marrow Cells Show Some Benefits After Heart Attack

Intracoronary treatment linked to left ventricular improvements, reduced mortality

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Infusions of bone marrow cells into the affected artery following acute myocardial infarction may improve left ventricular performance and patient survival, according to research published in the June 16 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Muhammad Yousef, M.D., of the Heinrich-Heine-University of Dusseldorf in Germany, and colleagues analyzed data from 62 patients who underwent transplantation of autologous bone marrow cells into the infarct-related artery roughly seven days after their acute myocardial infarction, and another 62 patients who declined the treatment and served as controls.

The researchers found that treated patients showed improvements in ejection fraction (7.9 percent) and stroke volume index (16.5 percent) three months later, with an 8 percent reduction in infarct size. Their contraction velocities increased and they had improvement of contractility in the infarct zone. At one and five years after treatment, patients had stable contractility, hemodynamic status, and left ventricular geometry; in control patients, left ventricular performance decreased. The authors further note that mortality was lower in treated versus control patients (one versus seven deaths).

"This publication of the first long-term results of bone marrow cell therapy in acute myocardial infarction serves as both a significant milestone and a pivot point in cardiovascular research. The therapy can now be considered safe and modestly efficacious. Conversely, there is little evidence that it has achieved either the biologic goal of regenerating new myocardium or the clinical goal of efficacy sufficient to justify widespread use," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Two editorial authors reported financial relationships with Cordis, Medtronic, and Capricor Inc.

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