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Muscle cell grafts can improve heart attack outcomes

Muscle cell grafts can improve heart attack outcomes
6th August 2012

Heart muscle cell grafts can improve outcomes following heart attacks, according to a recent animal study.

Making major advancements in the ability to regenerate damaged hearts, researchers found that grafts from human cardiac muscles, grown from embryonic stem cells, can suppress arrhythmias after a heart attack.

This couples the grafts electrically and allows them to contract synchronously with the heart's own muscles.

The discovery was made by researchers at the University of Washington, led by Dr Michael LaFlamme.

Guinea pig hearts with an injury to the left ventricle were given human cardiac muscle cell graphs. It was observed that the damaged area had partial re-muscularisation following the graph.

"These results provide strong evidence that human cardiac muscle cell grafts meet physiological criteria for true heart regeneration," he said. "This supports the continued development of human embryonic stem cell-based heart therapies for both mechanical and electrical repair of the heart."

If confirmed in the further trials, the findings will important for the thousands of Britons with heart complications. However, individuals must still take steps to improve cardiac health through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

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