Stem Cells as a cure for Heart failure?

The human heart

Heart failure is a major health problem around the world. It has been under debate since quite a long time now. All the treatments discovered till date only minimize the symptoms. However, experts believe that there is a fair possibility of stem cells as a cure for heart failure

What is Heart failure?

The words ‘Heart failure’ may be alarming to hear but it doesn’t mean that the heart has stopped working. It actually means that the heart is unable to pump blood around the body. This usually happens when the heart becomes weak or stiff.

Normal heart versus heart failure

Heart failure may occur at any age but is most common in older people. It is a long term condition and may get worse if left untreated.

Causes of heart failure

Heart failure can be a result of many problems affecting all together. These problems may include:

  • Coronary Heart disease- fatty substances block the arteries that supply blood the heart which may cause angina or heart attack.
Clogged artery carrying blood towards the heart
  • High blood pressure- this increases the strain on the heart thus causing a permanent damage.

Sometimes anemia, drinking a lot of alcohol or high pressure in the lungs can also lead to heart failure.


They range from mild to severe and may come and go. Generally, it gets worse with time so the symptoms can increase.

You may have trouble breathing when doing exercise or lying flat in bed. This happens when the body doesn’t get enough oxygenated blood or when congestion occurs. As a result, you get tired and your legs may feel weak. Due to insufficient oxygen in body dizziness and fainting may occur.

Kidneys don’t filter enough blood so your body holds up extra fluid causing weight gain and swelling in ankles, legs and abdomen.

Damaged heart muscles doesn’t pump blood with enough force so the heart may beat faster to circulate more oxygen-rich blood around the body. This can cause irregular rapid heartbeats or palpitations.

irregular heartbeat

Cure heart failure with Stem cells

Stem cells are automatic healers of the body. Whenever the body in damaged, internally or externally, stem cells travel to the place of injury. They either come from the bone marrow or more commonly from heart itself. They secrete hormones on the sight of the accident that heals the damage by becoming heart muscles itself.

Initially, researchers used the patient’s own stem cells from the bone marrow as they are easy to collect. They are then added into the body during surgery or by injecting directly.

this image shows how stem cells can be injected to the site of damage

Moreover, the researchers are still working on making further promising approaches which includes:

  • Giving highly selected stem cells from a donor around the time of a heart attack
  • Providing patients’ own stem cells after heart attack
  • Offering highly selected, non-cardiac stem cells from donor after heart attack.

There are many articles you may find on this subject yet stem cell therapy for damaged heart- heart failure has to be proven fully safe and effective. Only then Stem cells as a cure for heart failure can become a standard practice.