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Can Heart Attack Damage Be Repaired?

Posted Feb 03 2012 8:24am
Heart attack is a common name for myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI). When a person has a heart attack, some heart cells will die because of interruption of blood supply to a part of his or her heart. If a heart attack victim is not dealt with immediately, he or she might end up with death. That is why it is the leading cause for death for men and women worldwide.

Even if the victim is lucky enough to survive the heart attack, the damage to the heart muscle can never be repaired. He or she could have complications such as blood clots, heart failure, heart rupture, heart valve damage, irregular heartbeats and inflammation of the heart.

Good news is that doctors might be able to help the human heart repair itself in the near future. Researchers the Institute of Child Health in London had discovered cells in the hearts of mice that can make new muscle after a heart attack, and found a way to reactivate these cells that help build the heart in an embryo but generally go dormant in adulthood.
The findings, which were published on June 9, 2011 in the journal ‘Nature’, suggested that it might be possible to develop a drug for patients who are at risk of heart attack to keep those dormant cells ready in case of a heart attack.
In the study, researchers found that if the cells, which are found in the outer layer of the mouse heart, were injected with a particular substance and the animals were given a heart attack, the cells migrated to the injury part and made new muscle. The heart worked better as shown by several indicators found. Nevertheless, it was not clear if that was due to the new muscle or other known effects of the injected substance.
While it is generally agreed that very little in the cardiac world has translated from mice to man, some cardiac experts believe the new study would stir the field of heart regeneration studies that would eventually generate some positive findings to benefit people with heart disease.
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