Potential for stem cell use in congenital heart disease

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This article reports on the evolving field of stem cell therapy and its impact on the management of cardiac pathology, in particular congenital heart disease. To date, stem cell therapy has focused on cardiomyoplasty for heart muscle disease, stem cell therapies are already in clinical use for these disorders. Research is now also supporting the potential role of stem cell therapy for congenital heart disease. In the future it may be possible to use stem cells to create cellular grafts and structures that may be surgically implanted into the disordered heart using bioengineering technology. Different types of stem cells have been evaluated and the identification of specific cardiac stem cells offers great potential. Preliminary animal studies investigating fetal cardiac therapies are also underway. These new directions for stem cell research provide exciting potential for the future management of congenital heart disease.

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