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Stem cell therapy for chronic ischaemic heart disease and congestive heart failure

Background
A promising approach to the treatment of chronic ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and heart failure is the use of stem cells. The last decade has seen a plethora of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) developed worldwide which have generated conflicting results.

Objectives
The critical evaluation of clinical evidence on the safety and efficacy of autologous adult bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMSC) as a treatment for chronic ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and heart failure.

Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library, 2013, Issue 3), MEDLINE (from 1950), EMBASE (from 1974), CINAHL (from 1982) and the Transfusion Evidence Library (from 1980), together with ongoing trial databases, for relevant trials up to 31st March 2013.

Selection criteria
Eligible studies included RCTs comparing autologous adult stem/progenitor cells with no autologous stem/progenitor cells in participants with chronic IHD and heart failure. Co-interventions such as primary angioplasty, surgery or administration of stem cell mobilising agents, were included where administered to treatment and control arms equally.

Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently screened all references for eligibility, assessed trial quality and extracted data. We undertook a quantitative evaluation of data using fixed-effect meta-analyses. We evaluated heterogeneity using the I² statistic; we explored considerable heterogeneity (I² > 75%) using a random-effects model and subgroup analyses.