In this health video learn how chronic heart failure kills thousands each year, and though a heart transplant is an option, many patients die waiting for one. Now, cutting-edge technology may offer something better.
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Jennifer Matthews: Two people. Gloria Shelby: They said my heart was so weak and tell you, just wouldn't content pumping by itself. Jennifer Matthews: Two hearts that stopped working. Ed Layton: I was dying. It actually -- the heart attack blew a hole in my heart. Jennifer Matthews: Chronic heart failure kills thousands each year. A heart transplant is an option, but many die waiting for one. Now, cutting edge research offers something better. Ravi Birla: If we think about science fiction, the ability to have a total bio-artificial heart and implant it back into the patient may be a lifesaving option for some cases where there simply is no other option available. Jennifer Matthews: Researchers at the University of Michigan are growing heart muscle and valves in the lab. A biological replacement could be an almost exact match of the real thing. Scientists first take cardiac cells from rats. That's combined with a fibrin gel to make 3-D tissue. Electro-mechanical stimulation from a bioreactor gives the cells the same environment they're used to in the body. The goal is to put the created tissue back into the body as replacement heart muscle or make new valves, vessels, and ventricles. Ravi Birla: The whole concept of being able to grow tissue-engineered products at various components of the heart, it sort of gives you a reason to wake up in the morning and come to work. Jennifer Matthews: There are still years away from actually using lab-created heart parts in patients, but the scientist say it could revolutionize modern medicine. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.

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