Stem cell therapy may help patients with heart failure (HF) reduce their risk of myocardial infarction (MI) or non-fatal stroke, according to new research presented at the 2021 scientific sessions of the ‘American Heart Association.
The researchers followed data from 537 heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). Eighty percent of the patients were men and the median age was 63 years.
The patients were divided into two groups: 261 patients received an injection of 150 million mesenchymal precursor cells [stem cells] provided by healthy donors directly into the heart using a catheter, and 276 patients underwent a sham procedure.
According to the authors, the patients were discharged from the hospital the day after the operation and were followed for an average of 30 months.
Overall, the team associated the use of stem cells with a 65% decrease in non-fatal MI and stroke. Also, the patients with high levels of inflammation (CRP levels of at least 2 mg / L) were 79% less likely to have an MI or non-fatal stroke after receiving stem cells.
Additionally, stem cell therapy reduced cardiac mortality by 80% in patients with high levels of inflammation and less severe HF.
However, the team added, there was no reduction in hospitalizations for HF among patients who received stem cells.
“Cell therapy has the potential to change the way we treat HF,” said senior author Emerson C. Perin, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Clinical Research and medical director of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, in a prepared press release. “This study focuses on the inflammatory aspects of HF, which for the most part go untreated, despite the significant development of pharmaceutical therapy and devices. Our results indicate that stem cell therapy can be considered for use in addition to standard therapies.