Stem cell therapy is an evolving option for patients living with debilitating symptoms of heart disease severely impacting normal, daily activities. This treatment delivers an infusion of adult stem cells safely to the heart to address pumping function for symptomatic relief and a better quality of life.
Your heart is vital to life, pumping out around 2,000 gallons of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body every single day. When a heart attack or severe coronary artery disease damages the normal pumping function of your heart, the result can be devastating.
A Regenerative Approach to Treating Heart Disease
In this short video, cardiologist and researcher Dr. Leslie Miller gives an overview of the regenerative capabilities of stem cell treatment for heart failure.
Targeting Heart Disease Symptoms
Heart disease manifests in different ways for each patient, but many with chronic and severe coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure experience:
- Persistent fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Regular chest pains (angina)
- Limitations on exercise and other physical activity
Cell therapy not only targets these symptoms to provide relief but also, through the restorative mechanisms of the stem cells themselves, works to repair the heart for better pumping function. This can equate to better breathing, improved ability to exercise or perform physical activity as well as reduced chest pains and improved energy levels.
The Power of Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Disease
Adult stem cells could be thought of as small “doctors” who go to work healing and repairing the body on a daily basis. Stem cells exist throughout our bodies in various tissues and are responsible for healing cuts and bruises and helping us recover from every day wear-and-tear. During treatment at Okyanos for heart failure, adult stem cells are delivered to the heart through a method known as retrograde coronary sinus infusion.
What Happens When The Cells Are Infused in the Heart?
The stem cells which reside in your own body fat (or adipose tissue) have a few important functions that are of particular interest to healing a damaged heart.
- Adult stem cells can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis, which leads to improved blood flow in the heart.
- These cells also provide an anti-inflammatory effect which aids in healing.
- Further, they attach themselves to damaged tissue and recruit other cells necessary for repairing or replacing damaged heart tissue.
- Adult stem cells also aid in reducing the size of the scar tissue which forms on the heart after a heart attack, known as an infarct.
- Last but not least, your own fat-derived stem cells can prevent premature heart muscle cell death.
Stem cell therapy for chronic heart disease at Okyanos is a minimally invasive, same-day outpatient procedure very similar to an angioplasty. Though recovery can and does vary from patient to patient, our protocols are designed and carried out with the goal of keeping “downtime” to a minimum. A general overview of the procedure is as follows:
- First, water-assisted fat harvesting is done to obtain a sufficient amount of adipose (fat) tissue.
- The unique blend of stem and regenerative cells which exist in the adipose tissue are then isolated and prepared utilizing a closed/sterile, fully automated CGMP cell processing system.
- Following a period of approximately 2-2 ½ hours of rest and recovery, a regenerative cell concentrate is then delivered to the heart via infusion into the coronary sinus. In addition, cells may be delivered intravenously to address the systemic factors relating to cardiovascular disease. This combination of IV and direct infusion is a standard technique developed by doctors at Okyanos. Cardiac infusions are performed using our state-of-the art Phillips bi-plane cath lab and advanced imaging system.
To learn more about stem cell therapy for heart disease and heart failure, contact a Patient Liaison to request a free educational consultation or dial 855-OKYANOS (855-659-2667).
References Can Stem Cells Repair a Damaged Heart?. (n.d.). In Stem Cell Information. Retrieved March 9, 2012, from http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/scireport/chapter9.asp
Schaper, W. (2011, October 20). Collateral Vessels Reduce Mortality. European Heart Journal, 33(5), 564-566, from http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/10/20/eurheartj.ehr385
Stem Cell Therapy in Patients with Heart Failure (January, 2013) in Methodist Debakey Cardiovascular Journal. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600877/
REVIVE Trial: Retrograde Delivery of Autologous Bone Marrow in Patients With Heart Failure (July, 2015) retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.5966/sctm.2015-0070/full
Effect of Human Adipose Derived Stem Cells on Scar Formation and Remodeling in a Pig Model: A Pilot Study (July 16, 2012) in Results and Conclusions. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22804839
Adipose-Derived Regenerative Cells Improve Cardiac Functional Capacity at 18 Months in Chronic Ischemic Heart Disease Patients; Statistically Significant Improvement in MVO2 Reported by Cytori at American Heart Association (November, 2010). Retrieved from http://ir.cytori.com/investor-relations/News/news-details/2010/adipose-derived-regenerative-cells-improve-cardiac-functional-capacity-at-18-months-in-chronic-ischemic-heart-disease-patient/default.aspx
Fat Tissue: An Underappreciated Source of Stem Cells for Biotechnology (April, 2006) in Trends in Biotechnology. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16488036