Utilization of stem cells to treat congenital heart disease: Hype and hope

Susana Cantero Peral, Harold M. Burkharte, Timothy J. Nelsona

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Surgical advances over the past few decades have transformed the clinical management of congenital heart disease, such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Congenital heart disease affects more than 1% of liveborn infants and accounts for more than 2.5 million affected children per year worldwide. The cost and availability of complex medical management for these children becomes bluntly realized when heart failure progresses and only palliative options remain. Cell-based cardiac regeneration has been the focus of intensive efforts in adult heart disease for more than a decade and now has promise for pediatrics. Recent findings Innate cardiac regeneration in the pediatric setting is measurable and potentially modifiable in the early stages of development. Repurposing cell-based manufactured products to promote cardiac regeneration in congenital heart disease has demonstrated significant improvement in cases of dilated cardiomyopathy and structural heart disease in infants. Summary A focus on preemptive cardiac regeneration in the pediatric setting may offer new insights into the timing of surgery, location of cell-based delivery, and type of cell-based regeneration that could further inform acquired cardiac disease applications. The concept of cell-based pediatric cardiac regenerative surgery could transform the management of congenital heart disease when cost-effective strategies produce a valuable adjunctive solution to improve outcomes of cardiac surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-560
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Congenital heart disease
  • Hlhs
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Stem cell therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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