Stem Cell Treatment: Regenerating Heart Function with Adult Stem Cells

If you tie a ribbon tightly on the base of any of your fingers, your finger will first change color from red to purple. Before long it will become pale, at which point the pain will be very sharp. The same thing happens to your heart doing a myocardial ischemic attack, better known as a heart attack. Let’s take a closer look at why heart attacks occur and why they’re so dangerous.

Many different types of heart diseases exist, some affecting the valves of the heart, some the walls of the heart and some the chambers, but the most prevalent heart disease involves the coronary arteries, those vessels that feed the heart itself.

To put it simply, heart disease occurs when inflammation and plaque buildup block coronary arteries, causing reduced or stopped blood flow to the heart. Arteries are supposed to be flexible and smooth, expanding and contracting as the blood flows through. Nearly all coronary artery disease results from the atherosclerosis, which comes from the Greek word of athero, meaning porridge or paste, and sclerosis, meaning hardness. With atherosclerosis, deposits of fats and calcium buildup in the inner walls. These fat and calcium deposits are called plaques.

When these hard plaques damage the inner layer of the artery wall, causing them to harden, thicken and loose elasticity, arteriosclerosis occurs. These terms can be confusing terms, so as you go through this post just keep this in mind, Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis, even though they are not synonymous, for all practical purposes mean hardening of the arteries.

Plaque is like the flaky rust inside of an old water pipe. Building up layer by layer, it can eventually block an artery completely and stop the blood flow, or it can narrow an artery and reduce blood flow enough to form a blood clot, or a thrombosis. When a blood clot blocks a coronary artery, heart attacks occur.

We normally think of atherosclerosis in terms of the heart, but it can seriously impact other parts of the body, too. For instance, A diseased carotid artery leading to the brain can cause a stroke. A blocked renal artery leading to the kidney can cause high blood pressure. Atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to the bowel can cause abdominal pain, weight loss or theft of the bowels.

Blockage in the arteries supplying the legs with blood can cause difficulty in walking due to muscle discomfort after walking and can eventually lead to leg ulcers and even gangrene.

All of these symptoms are caused by ischemia, or lack of blood, and just lack of oxygen. Stem cell therapy for heart disease has been shown to reverse the narrowing of the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart and has also led to the establishment of new blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart. Patients with cardiac diseases; from coronary heart disease to congestive heart failure, are excellent candidates for the stem cell treatments using catheterization technique.

It is one of the few stem cell treatments, available outside of clinical trials, where stem cells are infused directly into the damaged part of the heart via catheter. This procedure allows for better targeting of the cells to repair damaged heart tissue.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. The narrowing of the blood vessels is caused by a build-up of plaque inside the coronary arteries. Coronary heart disease is also called coronary artery disease.

Coronary heart disease is a prominent health issue despite many breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine. Despite successful approaches to prevent or limit the build-up of plaque in the coronary arteries, the restoration of normal flow of oxygen rich blood to the heart muscle remains a formidable challenge. Recently, scientists are providing evidence that adult stem cells may be able to repair and establish new blood vessels.

Coronary Heart Disease Facts

  • Most common cause of death in the United States for both men and women (25% of all deaths). Claims about 1 million deaths a year.
  • An estimated 80 million Americans have one or more types of heart disease.

What Causes Coronary Heart Disease?

Common causes of CHD are:

  • Plaque build-up on the walls of your coronary arteries. The coronary arteries bring blood and oxygen to your heart.
  • This buildup causes the arteries to get narrow.
  • Consequently, blood flow to the heart decreases or stops.

The Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease

The risk of coronary heart disease increases with age. However, lifestyle changes can decrease your chances of getting CHD.

The risk factors for heart disease that you CANNOT change are:

  • Age: The risk of heart disease increases with age.
  • Gender: Men have a higher risk of heart disease than women.
  • Heredity: Your risk is higher if your relatives have had heart disease.

The risk factors for heart disease that you CAN control:

  • Cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes type 1
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Stress

What Are the Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease?

Symptoms for coronary heart disease are very noticeable, however there are cases where you can have the disease and not have any symptoms.

  • Pain in your chest, as if someone is squeezing your heart
  • Pain occurring during activity or emotion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Angina

Stem Cell Treatment for Coronary Heart Disease

Stem cell therapy for coronary heart disease has been shown reverse the narrowing of the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart and had also led to the establishment of new blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart.

The medical team uses adult stem cells that are extracted from the patient’s own bone marrow. These cells are then placed into the heart via a catheter, where they differentiate and cause the growth and regeneration of new heart tissue. This restores blood and oxygen flow from the heart to the body which improves heart function leading to improved quality of life.

Congestive Heart Failure: Cardiac Regeneration and Repair with Stem Cell Therapy

Congestive heart failure remains among the world’s major health issues, regardless of the many accomplishments in cardiovascular treatments. Although there are successful methods designed to prevent or limit cardiovascular disease, the restoration of function to the injured heart has eluded even the brightest scientific minds of today.

Quick Facts about Congestive Heart Failure

  • Nearly 5 million Americans are currently living with congestive heart failure (CHF).
  • Approximately 550,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
  • More than half of those who develop CHF die within 5 years of diagnosis.
  • Heart failure contributes to approximately 287,000 deaths a year.
  • Regular treatment entails lifestyle changes, medication or a heart transplant.

Heart failure is associated with significantly reduced physical and mental health, resulting in a markedly decreased quality of life. However, recent clinical research is providing evidence that adult stem cell may be able to replace damaged heart muscle cells and establish new blood vessels to supply them.

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart’s function as a pump is inadequate to deliver oxygen rich blood to the body. Congestive heart failure can be caused by:

  • Diseases that weaken the heart muscle.
  • Diseases that cause stiffening of the heart muscles.
  • Diseases that increase oxygen demand by the body tissue beyond the capability of the heart to deliver adequate oxygen-rich blood.

Causes of Congestive Heart Failure?

Many disease processes can impair the pumping efficiency of the heart to cause congestive heart failure. In the United States, the most common causes of congestive heart failure are:

  • Coronary artery disease (heart attack)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Longstanding alcohol abuse
  • Disorders of the heart valves

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure?

  • Congested lungs
  • Fluid and water retention
  • Dizziness, fatigue, and weakness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath

Classification of Congestive Heart failure

The following chart illustrates a simple way of classifying patients by dividing them into one of four categories. The chart emphasizes the patients limitation of physical activity.

Class Symptoms
I No symptoms and no limitation in ordinary physical activity, e.g. shortness of breath when walking, climbing stairs etc.
II Mild symptoms (mild shortness of breath and/or angina) and slight limitation during ordinary activity.
III Marked limitation in activity due to symptoms, even during less-than-ordinary activity, e.g. walking short distances (20-100 m).
Comfortable only at rest.
IV Severe limitations. Experiences symptoms even while at rest. Mostly bedbound patients.

Source: The Criteria Committee of the New York Heart Association. Nomenclature and Criteria for Diagnosis of Diseases of the Heart and Great Vessels. 9th ed. Boston, Mass: Little, Brown & Co; 1994:253-256.


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