Direct minimally invasive intramyocardial injection of bone marrow-derived AC133+ stem cells in patients with refractory ischemia: preliminary results

G Pompilio, G Steinhoff, A Liebold, M Pesce, F Alamanni, M C Capogrossi, P Biglioli
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon 2008, 56 (2): 71-6

BACKGROUND: Bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSC) may represent a viable option for patients with myocardial ischemia refractory to conventional treatments.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In 5 patients (4 males and 1 female, mean age 64 +/- 8 years) with untreatable angina pectoris (Canadian Cardiovascular Society Class III/IV), myocardial segments with stress-induced ischemia as assessed by gated single-photon emission computed tomography were injected with 4 to 12 million CD133+ BMSC. Cells were injected into the myocardium (2 anterior, 2 lateral, 1 inferior wall) through minimally invasive approaches (left minithoracotomy [n = 4] and subdiaphragmatic approach [n = 1]). At baseline, at 6 months and at 1 year of follow-up, an exercise test, gated single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), 2-D echocardiography and coronary angiography were performed to assess exercise capacity, myocardial perfusion, LV function and coronary anatomy.

RESULTS: Intramyocardial injection of autologous CD133+ BMSC cells was safe. No early or long-term complications were observed. After an average of 3.8 weeks from cell inoculation, all patients experienced a significant improvement of CCS class (from 3.8 to 1.8 at 6 months) and serial SPECT documented improvements of rest and stress perfusion in the injected territories at 6 months from operation. In 3 cases, coronary angiography showed an increase in the collateral score of the target areas. Clinical improvements still persist unchanged in 4 out of 5 cases at a mean of 36.5 months postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS: After stand-alone BMSC transplantation for refractory myocardial ischemia, we observed long-term clinical and perfusion improvements in the absence of adverse events.

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