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Heart Punctured by Nail Gun Improves after Stem Cell Infusion

separator In February, a 16-year-old by from Michigan, Dimitri Bonnville, was at his part-time construction job “horsing around” with his boss’s son when a nail gun fired accidentally and pierced Dimitri’s heart. Surgeons removed the nail, but imaging tests showed that a large part of the heart was no longer pumping and appeared to be dead.

Physicians then received approval to perform an experimental procedure using stem cells, cells in the bone marrow that can grow into a wide variety of cell types. They stimulated production of stem cells in Dimitri’s bone marrow, filtered the cells out of his blood, and then infused the cells directly into his heart. They are hoping that the stem cells will grow into normal heart cells, and replace the cells that have been damaged.

Five days after the procedure, the proportion of blood pumped out of Dimitri’s heart with each beat increased by 10 percent. His activity is still restricted, but physicians expect him to continue to improve for three months after the surgery.

The Baltimore Sun, 10 March 2003
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