Aims The objective of the present analysis was to systematically examine the effect of intracoronary bone marrow cell (BMC) therapy on left ventricular (LV) function after ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction in various subgroups of patients by performing a collaborative meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Methods and results We identified all randomized controlled trials comparing intracoronary BMC infusion as treatment for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. We contacted the principal investigator for each participating trial to provide summary data with regard to different pre-specified subgroups [age, diabetes mellitus, time from symptoms to percutaneous coronary intervention, infarct-related artery, LV end-diastolic volume index (EDVI), LV ejection fraction (EF), infarct size, presence of microvascular obstruction, timing of cell infusion, and injected cell number] and three different endpoints [change in LVEF, LVEDVI, and LV end-systolic volume index (ESVI)].
Data from 16 studies were combined including 1641 patients (984 cell therapy, 657 controls). The absolute improvement in LVEF was greater among BMC-treated patients compared with controls: [2.55% increase, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.83–3.26, P < 0.001]. Cell therapy significantly reduced LVEDVI and LVESVI (−3.17 mL/m², 95% CI: −4.86 to −1.47, P < 0.001; −2.60 mL/m², 95% CI −3.84 to −1.35, P < 0.001, respectively). Treatment benefit in terms of LVEF improvement was more pronounced in younger patients (age <55, 3.38%, 95% CI: 2.36–4.39) compared with older patients (age ≥55 years, 1.77%, 95% CI: 0.80–2.74, P = 0.03). This heterogeneity in treatment effect was also observed with respect to the reduction in LVEDVI and LVESVI. Moreover, patients with baseline LVEF <40% derived more benefit from intracoronary BMC therapy. LVEF improvement was 5.30%, 95% CI: 4.27–6.33 in patients with LVEF <40% compared with 1.45%, 95% CI: 0.60 to 2.31 in LVEF ≥40%, P < 0.001. No clear interaction was observed between other subgroups and outcomes.
Conclusion Intracoronary BMC infusion is associated with improvement of LV function and remodelling in patients after ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. Younger patients and patients with a more severely depressed LVEF at baseline derived most benefit from this adjunctive therapy.