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Therapeutic Angiogenesis

- Summary
- About therapeutic angiogenesis
- Process of angiogenesis
- During the procedure
- Benefits and risks
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Kerry Prewitt, M.D., FACC
Sumit Verma, M.D., FACC
Abdou Elhendy, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA


Therapeutic angiogenesis is an experimental area of treatment for cardiac ischemia, which is a common symptom of coronary artery disease. Cardiac ischemia, the primary symptom of which is angina, is usually a temporary situation in which the heart does not get enough oxygen. This lack of oxygen is often due to a blocked or obstructed coronary artery in the heart,  usually due to atherosclerosis, A heart attack happens every 29 seconds and is usually due to coronary artery disease (CAD).or "hardening of the arteries." Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels are formed, often in response to injury. In some cases of coronary artery disease, new blood vessels form to continue supplying the heart with oxygen-rich blood, despite the presence of widespread disease and blockages in the main coronary arteries. These new blood vessels are called collaterals.

The field of therapeutic angiogenesis is founded on the idea of stimulating the growth of collateral blood vessels on the heart. It is hoped that the new vessels will increase the amount of oxygen-rich blood reaching the heart muscle (myocardium). When the heart muscle is not receiving enough oxygen-rich blood, the person may suffer from chest pain or even a heart attack.

Although more research is necessary, some researchers hope that therapeutic angiogenesis may one day offer the benefits of a bypass without the open-heart surgery.

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Review Date: 08-28-2007

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