Some 25.6 million Americans are affected by heart disease according to the 2005 data from The National Center for Health Statistics. With over 650,000 dying every year, it was the biggest killer of U.S. citizens at the time. Little has changed. Only two options, a heart transplant or death, awaited patients as they deteriorated and medication or surgery on their heart failed to help. But today, there is another choice.
Using a patients own adult stem cells, a company based in Bangkok, Thailand, is trying to show that a realistic third option exists. Millions of adult stem cells are grown from a mere half pint of the patient’s own blood and then implanted into the occluded heart blood vessels or damaged heart muscle. The technique is performed by cardiac specialists in world-class hospitals in Thailand and most (about 70%) of the 250 patients that have been treated thus far attest that their quality of life has improved since treatment.
The option of adult stem cell therapy was kept from Terry, who is a Morgantown, West Virginia patient. He is among the many who do not receive this information from their cardiologists. What may be more shocking, is that he could reasonably have expected to receive the best and most advanced treatment options available to medical science considering that he was a patient at the prestigious teaching hospital attached to the University of West Virginia. He had only one small vessel left pumping blood to the front of his heart following several heart attacks. After going through more than half a dozen operations to insert stents, six bypasses, he did not want a transplant. He believed his death was written in stone.
Shortness of breath and pain was the daily trend for Terry. He wanted to be around a little longer to enjoy his grandchildren and the rest of his family but at only 60 years of age, he could not walk a hundred feet without tightness in his chest. He thought that more could have been done to help him, and he was upset with the feeling of hopelessness. But his daughter found out about the stem cell option while she was doing research online.
“I think it’s a total shame that I cannot get the help I need at home. I found out that there is some research going on with adult stem cells in the U.S. but they are like five year trials. I couldn’t wait five years. There’s going to be a lot of people dead in five years and they wouldn’t have to be dead if they knew about adult stem cell therapy,” he said.
“I hope ten people read my story and go out and tell ten more people so that everybody comes to understand what this is all about. I was using my own body to help, or perhaps cure, my own body. There is no rejection factor and it took only a small incision in my chest wall and an injection of my own stem cells into the heart. Once implanted these cells do what they are programmed to do – revascularize to improve blood flow to my useless heart muscle. While my wife shopped and visited the temples and markets I lay back in a superb hospital with fantastic care to get well,” he added.