CINCINNATI – Blanchester resident Elizabeth Nichols had just suffered a heart attack in 2010 when doctors at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati asked her if she wanted to be part of a promising clinical trial that could rejuvenate her heart and speed her recovery.
“I was a little concerned at first because I had never heard of what they were telling me about,” said Nichols, 67, the owner of Main Street Mall antique store in Blanchester. “But I trusted the doctors at Christ Hospital so much that when they told me I would be a good candidate for the clinical trial procedure, I agreed to it because they had provided me with excellent care and I trusted their decisions and advice.”
“I knew it would help me,” she said, “and I knew it would help others. I’m glad I did because today I feel great. I go to work every day and I still enjoy my life.”
Physicians at The Lindner Research Center at The Christ Hospital are evaluating and using regenerative therapy to repair and rejuvenate heart muscle damaged during a heart attack using adult stem cells.
The one-time treatment infuses heart stem cells into the damaged weakened areas of the heart, allowing new cells to begin to repair, restore and even replace the damaged heart muscle with healthy heart issue. These regenerative therapies evaluating the repair and/or replacement of the damaged heart tissue are available to eligible patients even as long as a year after a heart attack or if the patient was treated at another medical facility.
“This revolutionary method of treatment allows patients participating in the research to play a more active role in their own healthcare while helping make new treatments available to the public,” said Dean Kereiakes, M.D, medical director of The Christ Hospital Heart and Vascular Center and The Lindner Research Center at The Christ Hospital.
In the regenerative heart study, results have shown adult stem cell therapy to improve heart function and blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. Regenerative medicine is focused on enhancing the body’s amazing ability to heal itself.
Researchers such as Dr. Kereiakes have learned that the heart does regenerate, but at a rate too slow to repair damaged heart muscle.
“This new therapy may boost the heart’s natural healing ability, improving the patient’s overall strength and function,” Dr. Kereiakes said. “On average, patients had more energy and were able to walk longer distances than before treatment.”
Nichols’ procedure was performed by Joseph Choo, M.D., an interventional cardiologist.