Computed Tomographic Assessment of Coronary Arteries in Patients Undergoing Stem Cell Therapy Following an Acute Myocardial Infarction

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Despite of numerous treatment strategies developed in the last years, ischemic heart disease remains the leading cause of death around the world. Acute myocardial infarction (MI) causes irreversible destruction to the myocardial tissue, which is replaced by fibroblast cells, leading to the formation of a dense, collagenous scar, a non-contractile tissue, and often to heart failure. Stem cell therapy seems to represent the next therapeutic method for the treatment of heart failure caused by myocardial infarction. Several international trials proved the beneficial outcome of the intracoronary infusion of bone marrow-derived stem cells, improving left ventricular systolic function and clinical symptomatology. Many noninvasive imaging procedures are available to evaluate the beneficial properties of stem cell therapy. Most studies have demonstrated the role of multislice computed tomography (MSCT) in evaluating left ventricular parameters such as end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes and ejection fraction, or to quantify myocardial scar tissue. In this review we will discuss the usefulness of MSCT for the assessment of coronary arteries, new tissue regeneration, and evaluation of tissue changes and their functional consequences in subjects undergoing stem cell treatment following MI.

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