Scientific background

scientific background

Acute myocardial infarction (AMI)

Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is one of the most severe ischemic events in cardiovascular disease. Each year, over 2.5 million people suffer from AMI in Europe and US. Over the past decades, therapeutic innovation and technical advances in the treatment for AMI has dramatically reduced mortality. Downside of improved survival after AMI is the increase of both incidence and prevalence of congestive heart failure (CHF). Together with an aging society, patients who survive the initial infarction are to cope with impaired cardiac function due to loss of contractile myocardial tissue and suboptimal healing mechanisms of the heart. The increase of CHF causes a major socio-economic burden to healthcare systems and society and is rapidly increasing in the next decade.

The best current therapy for AMI is the restoration of blood flow through the occluded coronary artery (i.e. reperfusion therapy) to limit infarct size. Despite achieving successful reperfusion in more than 90% of the cases, there is no intervention that optimizes the healing process in the days and weeks after infarction. Each year over 1.5 million people in Europe and US are diagnosed with heart failure related to a prior AMI. A crucial determinant of CHF development is adverse remodeling initiated by excessive matrix degradation, inflammation and unwanted fibrotic changes in functional parts of the heart.