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Arq Bras Cardiol. 2011 Apr;96(4):325-31. Epub 2011 Mar 4.

Bone marrow cell transplantation in Chagas' disease heart failure: report of the first human experience.

[Article in English, Portuguese, Spanish]

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Hospital Santa Izabel, Santa Casa de Misericórdia da Bahia, Brazil.



Heart failure due to Chagas' disease (HFCD) is a progressive inflammatory cardiomyopathy that affects millions of individuals in Latin America. Studies using mice models of HFCD indicate that bone marrow mononuclear cell transplantation (BMCT) may reduce inflammation, fibrosis, and improve myocardial function.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate, for the first time in humans, the safety and efficacy of BMCT to the myocardium of patients with HFCD.


A total of 28 HFCD patients (mean age 52.2 ± 9.9 years) with NYHA class III and IV were submitted to BMCT through intracoronary injection. Effects on the left ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF), functional capacity, quality-of-life, arrhythmias, biochemical, immunological, and neuro-humoral parameters, were evaluated.


There were no complications directly related to the procedure. LVEF was 20.1 ± 6.8% and 28.3 ± 7.9%, p < 0.03 at baseline and 180 days after the procedure, respectively. In the same period, significant improvements were observed in the NYHA class (3.1 ± 0.3 to 1.8 ± 0.5; p < 0.001), quality-of-life (50.9 ± 11.7 to 25.1 ± 15.9; p < 0.001), and in the six-minute walking test (355 ± 136 m to 437 ± 94 m; p < 0,01). There were no changes in markers of immune or neurohormonal activation. No complications were registered.


Our data suggest that the intracoronary injection of BMCT is safe and potentially effective in patients with HFCD. The extent of the benefit, however, appears to be small and needs to be confirmed in a larger randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial.

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