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Herz. 2010 Oct;35(7):458-65. doi: 10.1007/s00059-010-3382-7.

Intrapericardial procedures for cardiac regeneration by stem cells: need for minimal invasive access (AttachLifter) to the normal pericardial cavity.

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Department of Internal Medicine - Cardiology, Experimental Cardiology Laboratory, Philipps University of Marburg, Marburg, Deutschland.


In view of the only modest functional and anatomical improvements achieved by bone marrow-derived cell transplantation in patients with heart disease, the question was addressed whether the intracoronary, transcoronary-venous, and intramyocardial delivery routes are adequate. It is hypothesized that an intrapericardial delivery of stem cells or activators of resident cardiac stem cells increases therapeutic benefits. From such an intrapericardial depot, cells or modulating factors, such as thymosin β4 or Ac-SDKP, are expected to reach the myocardium with sustained kinetics. Novel tools which provide access to the pericardial space even in the absence of pericardial effusion are, therefore, described. When the pericardium becomes attached to the suction head (monitored by an increase in negative pressure), the pericardium is lifted from the epicardium ("AttachLifter"). The opening of the suction head ("Attacher") is narrowed by flexible clamps which grab the tissue and improve the vacuum seal in the case of uneven tissue. A ridge, i.e.,"needle guidance", on the suction head excludes injury to the epicardium, whereby the pericardium is punctured by a needle which resides outside the suction head. A fiberscope can be used to inspect the pericardium prior to puncture. Based on these procedures, the role of the pericardial space and the presence of pericardial effusion in cardiac regeneration can be assessed.

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