Children's Memorial Hospital Those suffering from a damaged heart can be treated with their own heart cells. According to a recent research, heart stem cells from children with congenital heart disease can rebuild the damaged heart in the laboratory. The findings apparently have great significance in the health zone.

While conducting the research, cells were achieved from patients ranging in age from a few days after birth to 13 years. These patients were previously subjected to routine congenital cardiac surgery. The number of heart stem cells appears greatest in neonates, that reduce with progression in age. Majority of the stem cells can be possibly found in the upper right chamber of the heart, or the right atrium. The cardiac stem cells seem to be functional and are capable to repair the damaged heart.

“Due to the advances in surgical and medical therapies, many children born with cardiomyopathy or other congenital heart defects are living longer but may eventually succumb to heart failure. This project has generated important pre-clinical laboratory data showing that we may be able to use the patient’s own heart stem cells to rebuild their hearts, allowing these children to potentially live longer and have more productive lives,” shared Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD, surgeon in the Division of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery at Children’s Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, lead author of the research.

It is known that heart disease among kids is markedly different than that in older people. Adults presumably suffer heart failure from coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis. But the heart failure in children occurs probably because they acquire cardiomyopathy or have a congenital condition. In such a congenital condition, the heart chambers may be small or in the wrong position causing the heart to pump inefficiently. The current method of treating the damaged heart is supposedly beneficial for children diagnosed with congenital heart disease.

The research will be published in the February issue of Circulation, a scientific journal of the American Heart Association.