Cochrane Summaries

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Stem cell treatment following a heart attack

Clifford DM, Fisher SA, Brunskill SJ, Doree C, Mathur A, Watt S, Martin-Rendon E
Published Online: 
15 February 2012

Currently the standard treatment for people suffering a heart attack (due to a blockage in the artery supplying blood to the heart) is to directly open the artery with a tiny balloon in a procedure called primary angioplasty and to introduce a small tube into the artery to keep it open called a stent. The use of primary angioplasty and stents to reopen the blocked artery can lead to a 33% reduction in the mortality (death rate) associated with this condition. Recently, bone marrow stem/progenitor cells have been investigated as a new treatment that may prevent the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack in addition to the treatment offered by primary angioplasty. Analysis of randomised controlled trials to 2011 indicates that this new treatment may lead to some improvements over standard treatment as measured by tests of heart function in the short and long term. Over 1,700 patients have participated so far in the 33 trials included in this systematic review.