In the song How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? a singer says it’d be easier to stop the rain from falling down than to repair a broken heart.
That sentiment is not far from the truth. After portions of the heart become too damaged, they may not be able to pump blood as efficiently as they once could.
Cardiovascular Treatment Over the Years
In the decades prior to the 1980s, treatment for cardiovascular disease primarily focused on lifestyle changes or limitations such as bed rest, inactivity, and fluid restrictions.
During the 1980s and 1990s, pharmaceuticals were a popular treatment option. For example, it was not uncommon for highly stressed executives to carry around nitroglycerine pills, a vasodilator that opens blood vessels to treat angina symptoms such as chest pain or pressure. Additional drug interventions used at this time included angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta blockers. Even so, overall morbidity and mortality rates remained high, with more than half of heart disease patients returning to the hospital within six months of a heart attack.
By the early 2000s, doctors were opting for implantable devices, including cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), artificial hearts, cardiac reshaping devices, and more. Even so, for many heart disease patients, these devices proved inconvenient and the costs prohibitive.
Providing Hope through Stem Cell Therapy
Although the human heart is made up of billions of heart cells, it is no match for high blood pressure, blood clots and heart attacks. With age, the heart loses its ability to make new heart cells, so damaged cells are not replaced in the latter half of life, precisely when we need them the most.
That’s where stem cells come in. Stem cells from elsewhere in a patient’s body – typically from bone marrow – can develop into a variety of heart cell types and replace damaged heart tissue. A catheter may be used to transfer the cells into a patient’s heart, where they can begin regeneration
In fact, stem cell therapy is on the leading edge of the emerging field known as regenerative medicine. Using sophisticated biogenics (products created from your own body), instead of relying on more traditional treatments such as steroids, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), surgery, and other pharmaceuticals (which often cause unwanted side effects), stem cell therapy focuses on harnessing the natural healing power of the body. Which, ultimately, means there is hope if you are trying to mend your own “broken” heart.
To learn more about where stem cells come from and how they might be able to help heart disease, call National Stem Cell Centers at our New York office, (646) 448-0427 or Long Island office, (516) 403-1457 to speak to our experts and schedule your complimentary consultation.