Aims: Intracoronary administration of autologous bone marrow cells (BMCs) leads to a modest improvement in cardiac function, but the effect on myocardial viability is unknown. The aim of this randomized multicentre study was to evaluate the effect of BMC therapy on myocardial viability in patients with decreased left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) after acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and to identify predictive factors for improvement of myocardial viability.
Methods and results: One hundred and one patients with AMI and successful reperfusion, LVEF ≤45%, and decreased myocardial viability (resting Tl201-SPECT) were randomized to either a control group (n = 49) or a BMC group (n = 52). Primary endpoint was improvement of myocardial viability 3 months after AMI. Baseline mean LVEF measured by radionuclide angiography was 36.3 ± 6.9%. Bone marrow cell infusion was performed 9.3 ± 1.7 days after AMI. Myocardial viability improved in 16/47 (34%) patients in the BMC group compared with 7/43 (16%) in the control group (P = 0.06). The number of non-viable segments becoming viable was 0.8 ± 1.1 in the control group and 1.2 ± 1.5 in the BMC group (P = 0.13). Multivariate analysis including major post-AMI prognostic factors showed a significant improvement of myocardial viability in BMC vs. control group (P = 0.03). Moreover, a significant adverse role for active smoking (P = 0.04) and a positive trend for microvascular obstruction (P = 0.07) were observed.
Conclusion: Intracoronary autologous BMC administration to patients with decreased LVEF after AMI was associated with improvement of myocardial viability in multivariate-but not in univariate-analysis. A large multicentre international trial is warranted to further document the efficacy of cardiac cell therapy and better define a group of patients that will benefit from this therapy.
Clinical trial registration information: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier NCT00200707.