Several recent clinical trials have shown how stem cells can help the heart heal after an attack, but to date the investigations have focused on transplanting cells directly into the site of the attack itself. However, a heart attack has a ripple effect, much like how an earthquake reaches beyond its epicenter to affect outlying regions, too. As the heart attempts to shift the workload from the damaged section to surrounding healthy muscle, the tissue abutting the attack site gets caught in the middle. This often results in the tissue being overstressed and leads to cardiac failure.
In this new study, the researchers evaluated the effects of expanding the stem cell treatment beyond the heart attack site to include the surrounding region.