Stems Cells are being used to help revitalize the hearts of babies who suffer from a severe heart defect and sometimes prevent the need for a transplant.
Almost 1 out of 100 babies is born with a heart defect. Each year in the U.S. many of these babies will need surgery within weeks of birth, followed by more surgeries throughout their life. But tonight in Your Health, doctors are turning to stem cells to give big hope for little hearts.
These tiny babies born prematurely and born with only half a heart.
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a complex congenital heart disease. It is where the left ventricle does not develop.
These newborns depend solely on their right ventricle in order to pump blood throughout the body.
These babies need surgical intervention in the first weeks of life.
15 to 20 percent of these babies will not live to their first birthday. For the little ones who do, medications and implanted devices can help. But ultimately, these children will need a heart transplant to survive.
That right ventricle becomes tired. It doesn’t pump blood efficiently.
Pediatric cardiac surgeons at Lurie Children’s Hospital are injecting stem cells directly into the heart to revitalize the worn out right ventricle.
We’re trying to see if we can actually put stem cells in there in order to remodel, rejuvenate that right ventricle in order to pump blood more efficiently for that baby.
In the long run, stem cell therapy could possibly even prevent these children from needing a heart transplant at all.
I think that these studies could be game changing for our babies.
With Your Health, I’m Shelby Cloover.
38 patients will be enrolled at seven clinical sites across the U.S. for a phase two clinical trial this year. Researchers hope that eventually, the stem cell injections will not have to be given as an injection into the heart, but as an intravenous injection like other medicine.
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