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March 27, 2023
Recovering from a Heart Attack: Can Muscle Death be Reversed?
When your bones are injured, your body will repair it within a few days. Do you want to know what happens to a person's heart muscle after a heart attack? Is there really room to repair or strengthen back muscles for those who may exercise regularly or regulate their diet in hopes of recovery? Until recently, it was thought that the human heart had no such capacity. Some studies have shown that some regeneration does occur, but the rate may be too low to heal the damage caused by a heart attack.
In most cases, rapid healing after a heart attack results in the formation of scar tissue instead of normal muscle tissue. According to surgeons, time is muscle during a heart attack. The heart depends on a constant supply of oxygen, and when that supply is blocked, even for only a few minutes, the heart's muscle cells begin to die.
Poor healing ability
Damage to the heart muscle causes a decrease in cardiac blood output. The heart muscle or cardiac muscle cells replicate at a slow rate of 0.5% per year, far from being able to repair the damage caused by any cardiac event. Thick, hard scar tissue replaces the working tissue. Eventually, the heart becomes weaker and weaker and may develop heart failure. According to studies, about half of all heart failure patients live no more than five years after diagnosis.
Possible future treatments
The best current treatment for heart failure is a heart transplant. However, this option is poorly accessible because the number of patients exceeds the number of hearts available for the procedure, and it is not economical for many people. Stem cell medicine could be an alternative approach to try to restore muscle to a damaged heart. However, many studies are attempting to repair heart damage by going beyond cardiomyocyte repair. One study found that a chemical or signaling pathway in our bodies may prevent these muscle cells from regenerating. Scientists suggest trying to shut down or block this signaling chain. Another recent study identified a specific gene that affects the strength of heart muscle contraction. The researchers found that when heart muscle cells are damaged, they lose their ability to contract, which is essential for the heart to pump blood. They found that when this gene is overexpressed, it leads to a loss of cardiomyocyte function. However, when this overexpression stopped, the cardiomyocytes began to regain their contractile capacity.