Aims: To investigate the clinical outcome after intracoronary administration of autologous progenitor cells in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

Methods and results: Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled multicentre trial design, we randomized 204 patients with successfully reperfused AMI to receive intracoronary infusion of bone-marrow-derived progenitor cells (BMCs) or placebo medium into the infarct artery 3–7 days after successful infarct reperfusion therapy. At 12 months, the pre-specified cumulative endpoint of death, myocardial infarction, or necessity for revascularization was significantly reduced in the BMC group compared with placebo (P=0.009). Likewise, the combined endpoint death, recurrence of myocardial infarction, and rehospitalization for heart failure was significantly (P=0.006) reduced in patients receiving intracoronary BMC administration. Intracoronary administration of BMC remained a significant predictor of a favourable clinical outcome by Cox regression analysis, adjusting for classical predictors of poor outcome after AMI.

Conclusion: Intracoronary administration of BMCs is associated with a significant reduction of the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events after AMI. Large-scale studies are warranted to confirm the effects of BMC administration on mortality and morbidity in patients with AMIs.