Cord Blood Treatment For Baby Heart Defects

Cord Blood Treatment For Baby Heart Defects

Umbilical cord blood could provide the raw material needed to repair the hearts of thousands of babies born defective heart valves, according to cardiologists at the University Hospital of Munich. Those scientists say they are 5 to 7 years away from transplanting new heart valves into children with heart defects, made from the baby’s own umbilical cord blood.

Heart valve abnormalities are one of the most common kinds of inherited heart defects. In these babies, the valves are too narrow or don’t close as they should, keeping blood from flowing properly. While surgeons can transplant new valves from human or animal donors, or from artificial material, these valves won’t grow as children do, forcing kids to undergo repeated operations to outfit them with new, larger valves, said Dr. Ralf Sodian, leader of the research team.

“Imagine you had a child with congenital heart disease and this child has to be operated on every 2 to 3 years,” Sodian said “It’s very hard for children and parents. The goal is to do surgery once that would last a lifetime.”

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