Medical Policy


Subject: Autologous Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Damaged Myocardium
Document #: MED.00117 Publish Date:    03/29/2018
Status: Reviewed Last Review Date:    02/27/2018


This document addresses the use of various autologous cells, collectively known as autologous cell therapy (ACT), for the treatment of damaged myocardium.  Sources for autologous cells include, but are not limited to, skeletal myoblasts, endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMC), and mesenchymal or hematopoietic stem cells.  Other techniques of ACT involve the use of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF) to increase the volume of circulating hematopoietic stem cells to treat damaged myocardial tissue.

Position Statement


Investigational and Not Medically Necessary:


Autologous cell therapy, including, but not limited to, skeletal myoblasts, mesenchymal stem cells or hematopoietic stem cells, is considered investigational and not medically necessary as a treatment of damaged myocardium.


Infusion of growth factors (for example, granulocyte colony stimulating factor [GCSF]) is considered investigational and not medically necessary as a technique to increase the numbers of circulating hematopoietic stem cells as treatment of damaged myocardium.



The use of various cell types such as hematopoietic stem cells, BMMC, skeletal myoblasts, mesenchymal stem cells, and circulating or bone marrow-derived EPCs are currently being evaluated in clinical trials utilizing various delivery techniques to revascularize or remodel injured myocardial (heart) tissue.  The optimal cell type that can develop into functioning cardiac muscle has yet to be identified.  There is also uncertainty regarding the timing of the transplantation post-infarct and the cell delivery mode (directly into myocardium, intracoronary artery or sinus, or intravenously).  Additionally, there are concerns related to harvesting autologous cells safely during the immediate post-infarct period.  Skeletal myoblasts may offer a unique advantage because they are easy to access through a muscle biopsy.  However, the harvested tissue must undergo culture to expand the number of skeletal myoblasts.  In some trials, biopsy to obtain skeletal myoblasts must occur 3 to 6 weeks before the anticipated implantation of the cultured cells.

At this time, no ACT technologies specific to the treatment of damaged myocardium have received United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Premarket approval (PMA).  While FDA approval is not required for autologous cells processed on site with laboratory procedures and injected with catheter devices, specialized technologies do require FDA approval.  There are several products under investigation for the treatment of damaged myocardium.  MyoCell™ (Bioheart, Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, FL) consists of autologous skeletal myoblasts that are expanded in a laboratory and supplied as a cell suspension for injection into the damaged myocardial area.  AdipoCell™ (Bioheart, Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, FL) consists of stem cells obtained from the individual’s adipose tissue and then subsequently infused into the damaged myocardium.  In addition, infusion or implantation of the manipulated autologous cell therapies may require the use of a unique catheter delivery system.  Specialized catheters to inject cells directly into the heart tissue (such as, MyoCath [Bioheart, Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, FL]) are also under investigation for FDA approval.  Bioheart, Inc. is currently conducting clinical trials as part of the FDA approval process.  The trials are evaluating individuals with a previous myocardial infarction who undergo epicardial implantation of the cultured myoblasts at the time of coronary artery bypass grafting, and individuals with a prior myocardial infarction and subsequent congestive heart failure, who undergo subendocardial implantation using the MyoCath device during a catheterization procedure.  All participants must receive an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), based on preliminary data suggesting that the implanted myoblasts may be arrhythmogenic (cause irregular heartbeats).  MultiStem® (Athersys, Inc., Cleveland, OH) an allogeneic bone marrow-derived adult stem cell product, which is injected into the outer layer of the affected vessels of an individual with a first time ST elevation myocardial infarct (STEMI), is undergoing Phase 2 studies.  

The existing evidence on the use of stem cells to treat chronic ischemic heart disease, heart failure (HF) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI ) was evaluated in two Cochrane reviews.  In the review of chronic ischemic heart disease and HF, there is low quality evidence that stem cell treatment improves left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) or reduces mortality in the short term, or that therapy reduces the incidence of non-fatal MI or improves New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional status in the long term (Fisher, 2016).  In AMI, a total of 41 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with 2732 individuals were included in the review.  The authors noted there was no clinically relevant improvement in morbidity, quality of life/performance or LVEF reported with ACT over controls.  The authors summarized that the evidence was insufficient to allow for any conclusions to be drawn and that further adequately powered trials are needed (Fisher, 2015).

Heldman (2014) conducted an RCT (phase I and II) to evaluate the safety of transendocardial stem cell injection with autologous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMCs) in 65 individuals with ischemic cardiomyopathy and LVEF of less than 50%.  Study investigators compared MSCs (n=19) with the placebo group (n=11), and BMCs (n=19) with the placebo group (n=10).  Participants were followed for a period of 1 year.  No participants experienced treatment-associated serious adverse events when evaluated at 30 days.  At 1 year, the rate of adverse events was 31.6% (95% confidence interval [CI]; 12.6% to 56.6%) for MSCs, 31.6% (95% CI; 12.6%-56.6%) for BMCs, and 38.1% (95% CI; 18.1%-61.6%) for placebo.  At 1 year follow-up, the Minnesota Living With Heart Failure scores significantly improved in individuals treated with MSCs (-6.3; 95% CI; -15.0 to 2.4; p=0.02) and with BMCs (-8.2; 95% CI; -17.4 to 0.97; p=0.005), but not in individuals in the placebo group (0.4; 95% CI; -9.45 to 10.25; p=0.38).  Additionally, the 6-minute walk distance increased with MSCs only (p=0.03).  No changes were observed in left ventricular chamber volume and LVEF.  Results suggested that transendocardial stem cell injection with MSCs or BMCs appeared to have a relatively good safety profile in individuals with chronic ischemic cardiomyopathy and left ventricular (LV) dysfunction.  Study authors emphasized that the study was hampered by several limitations including small sample size, and no definitive conclusions regarding the safety and clinical effects can be made.  Larger, well-designed studies are necessary to further assess the safety and efficacy of this therapeutic approach. 

Lee (2014) conducted a randomized, pilot RCT to evaluate the safety and efficacy of adult MSCs treatment following AMI.  Participants were randomized to the group treated with autologous BM-derived MSCs at 1 month (n=33) or the control group (n=36).  The primary endpoint was any change in LVEF assessed at 6 months.  Individuals in the BM-derived MSCs treatment group experienced significant improvement in the LVEF at 6 months compared with the control group (p=0.037).  There was no incidence of toxicity during intracoronary administration of MSCs, and no significant adverse cardiovascular events were observed during follow-up.  Study authors concluded that intracoronary infusion of human BM-derived MSCs at 1 month was relatively safe, well-tolerated, and resulted in fair improvement in LVEF, when assessed at 6 months of follow-up.

Assmus and colleagues (2002) reported on the results of the Transplantation of Progenitor Cells and Regeneration Enhancement in Acute Myocardial Infarction (TOPCARE-AMI) study.  This study included 20 individuals who had already undergone revascularization after an AMI and received either BMCs or circulating blood-derived progenitor cells infused into the infarct artery during a second catheterization procedure.  Cardiac function was evaluated before and after the transplantation procedure.  After 4 months, the authors reported an improvement in LVEF, regional wall motion, and LV end diastolic volume (LVEDV).  Subjects in this same study were evaluated in a subsequent analysis to identify predictors of clinical outcomes after AMI following treatment with BMCs or circulating blood-derived progenitor cells (Assmus, 2014).  Subjects were followed for a mean period of 58 months.  Seven subjects in the BMC group versus 15 subjects in the placebo group died (p=0.08) and 5 BMC subjects versus 9 placebo subjects required rehospitalization for instent restenosis of the infarct vessel (p=0.023).  Univariate analysis demonstrated that the predictors of adverse events in the placebo group were age, the CADILLAC risk score, treatment with aldosterone antagonists and diuretics, changes in LVEF, LV end-systolic volume (LVESV), and N-terminal pro-Brain Natriuretic Peptide (p=0.01 for all) at 4 months in all subjects, as well as the placebo group.  However, in the treatment group, only two outcomes were associated with significant improvements.

Mathiasen (2013) evaluated the long-term safety and efficacy of intramyocardial injection of autologous bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BMMSCs) in individuals with severe but stable coronary artery disease (CAD) and refractory angina (n=31) over a follow-up period of 3 years.  Subjects had no additional revascularization options available to them.  Investigators injected BMMSCs into an ischemic region of the heart.  Study results demonstrated statistically significant improvements in total exercise time (p=0.0016), angina class (p<0.0001), the weekly occurrence of angina attacks (p<0.0001), and treatment with nitroglycerine (p=0.0017).  In terms of the Seattle Angina Questionnaire, participants experienced significant improvements in several measures, including the physical limitation score, angina stability score, angina frequency score, and quality of life (QOL) score (p<0.0001 for each measure).  Results also demonstrated significantly reduced hospital admissions for the following conditions:  stable angina (p<0.0001), revascularization (p=0.003) and overall cardiovascular disease (p<0.0001).

Results from the C-CURE (Cardiopoietic stem Cell therapy in heart failURE) prospective, multi-center, blinded, randomized trial were reported by Bartunek and colleagues (2013).  The primary endpoint of the study was feasibility and safety of autologous BM-derived cardiopoietic stem cell therapy at 2 years follow-up.  A total of 319 individuals with chronic ischemic heart failure were screened at 9 centers, and 47 individuals were randomized to receive standard of care or standard of care plus BM-derived cardiopoietic stem cell therapy.  In the cell therapy arm, bone marrow was harvested and MSCs were isolated and expanded by exposure to cardiogenic cocktail treatments.  The cardiopoietic MSCs were injected endoventricularly with guidance from electromechanical mapping of the participants’ hearts.  Cardiopoietic stem cell expansion successfully met pre-determined criteria for 75% (n=21 individuals) and successful delivery occurred for all cases transplanted.  There was no evidence of increased cardiac or systemic toxicity induced by cardiopoietic MSC therapy.  The LVEF at 6 months was improved for the cardiopoietic MSC treatment group with a 7% increase from 27.5% (95% CI; 25.5% to 29.5%) at baseline to 34.5% (95% CI; 32.5% to 36.6%) (n=21, p<0.0001).  LVEF was unchanged in the control group (n=15) from baseline 27.8% (95% CI; 25.8% to 29.8%) to 28.0% (95% CI; 26.1% to 30.6%) at 6 months.  Other indicators, including the 6-minute walk test and composite scores such as QOL, cardiac function, and clinical endpoints improved with cell therapy, compared with standard of care.  The study authors concluded the trial was not powered as a therapeutic efficacy trial.  A full 30% of the participants, for whom adequate cells could not be obtained, were dropped from the analysis.  Comparative effectiveness trials will be required to determine if cardiopoietic MSC therapy is an effective regenerative strategy for management of HF.

Duckers and colleagues (2011) reported results from the SEISMIC study, a phase IIa randomized study of percutaneous myoblasts placed along with ICD in individuals with HF.  A total of 26 individuals were randomized to the treatment group that involved ICD and myoblasts, and 14 participants were randomized to the control group that involved optimal medical treatment.  The trial was designed to examine the safety and feasibility of the MyoCell transplantation procedure.  There was no significant difference in the global LVEF at 6 months follow-up.  There were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups with regard to the New York Heart Failure (NYHF) classification and 6-minute walk test results.  The study authors concluded the data demonstrated the feasibility of myoblast implantation, but the results were not superior to standard optimal medical treatment and ICD placement.

LateTIME, a phase II randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, investigated the impact of intracoronary infusion of autologous BMC in individuals with LVEF less than or equal to 45% after percutaneous stent placement (Traverse, 2011).  A group of 87 participants were randomized to BMC infusion or placebo.  BMC treatment was provided 2 to 3 weeks after the initial MI and primary study endpoints were improvement in global and regional LV function.  The mean LVEF change from baseline to 6 months was not different in the BMC treatment group (48.7% to 49.2%) compared with the placebo group (45.3% to 48.8%).  The authors concluded that delivery of BMC 2 to 3 weeks following MI is not effective.

In a companion trial to the LateTIME, the TIME trial prospectively evaluated the effect of BMC therapy during the first week after stenting with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).  The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial randomized 120 participants (LVEF ≤ 45% after PCI) to BMC therapy at day 3 or day 7 (Traverse, 2012).  All participants had autologous BMCs isolated after undergoing bone marrow aspiration.  A second randomization assigned individuals to receive 150 x 106 total nucleated cells (70-80% of BMCs) or to placebo.  Infusions of BMCs or placebo were administered in the infarct-related artery within 12 hours of aspiration.  Change from baseline and at 6 months in global LVEF and regional LV function measured by MRI, were the primary endpoints.  At 6 months, there was no significant BMC treatment versus placebo effect demonstrated by improved LVEF.  

Similarly, the FOCUS-CCTRN (First Mononuclear Cells injected in the United States conducted by the CCTRN [Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network]), a phase II randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigated the safety and efficacy of transendocardial-delivered BMCs in participants with chronic ischemic heart disease and LV dysfunction with HF and/or angina (Perin, 2012).  The primary endpoints evaluated at 6 months included changes to the LVESV on echocardiography, maximal oxygen consumption, and reversibility on single photon emission tomography (SPECT).  There were no statistically significant differences between BMC versus placebo for all of the primary endpoints (Perin, 2012). 

A meta-analysis by Gyöngyösi and colleagues (2015) studied the individual data of 1252 participants from 12 RCTs involving intracoronary cell therapy after AMI.  The overall results of the analysis of the primary end-point, freedom from major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (MACCE), was found to be highly consistent, in direction and magnitude, with the results of the within-trial analysis.  The results showed there was no significant difference between the MACCE rates of those who received cell therapy versus those in the control groups (14.0% versus 16.3%; hazard ratio [HR], 0.86; 95% CI; 0.63–1.18; p=0.884).  In addition, there were no significant differences in the death rate, the LVEF, LVEDV or LVESV between the groups.  Previous meta-analyses have reported inconsistent results; some meta-analyses reported a benefit in those receiving cell therapy studies while other meta-analyses did not report a benefit.  The authors noted that, while previous meta-analyses used information from published articles resulting in data heterogeneity, this study used individual participant data in their analysis.

San Roman and colleagues (2015) conducted a four-arm multicenter, prospective, randomized, open-labeled trial comparing the efficacy of BMMC (n=30), G-CSF mobilization (n=30) and both therapies (n=29) to standard therapy (n=31) in AMI.  Following infarct-related artery revascularization, individuals received treatment based on the regimen assigned to each treatment group.  The primary endpoint was the absolute change (baseline to 12 months) in global LVEF and in LVESV.  At 12 months follow-up, there was no improvement in LVEF in any of the treatment arms compared to the control.  Major adverse cardiac events were not significantly different between the groups. The reported 4% overall improvement in LVEF was comparable to improvements reported in contemporary randomized reperfusion trials with a similar testing population.

GCSF Therapies

The use of GCSF has been proposed as an adjunct to standard therapies to promote mobilization of stem cells and progenitor cells from the bone marrow into the circulating blood to improve repair of the damaged myocardium.  The benefits of GCSF in other fields, such as oncology, has led to research assessing the potential of GCSF in repairing myocardial tissue and improving clinical outcomes in those with damaged hearts. To date, the published evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of GCSF has been lacking.

Zohnlnhöfer and colleagues (2008) reported results of a meta-analysis of 445 participants in 10 trials involving the use of GCSF stem cell mobilization after an AMI. The authors concluded the use of GCSF was safe, but infarct size was not reduced, and LVEF function was not improved.  A second meta-analysis of 6 controlled trials with 160 participants showed that treatment of AMI with GCSF did not show any significant improvement when compared to standard therapies with PCI (Fan, 2008). Some studies have reported negative findings, such as higher rate of restenosis or decreased LEVF in those receiving GCSF (Hibbert, 2014; Kang, 2004).  A Cochrane review by Moazzami and colleagues (2013) which included 7 trials and 354 individuals, reported that based on limited evidence obtained from small trials, there was a lack of benefit associated with the use of GCSF in the treatment of AMI.  Larger quality studies are needed to evaluate potential clinical efficacy and therapy-related adverse events.

A recent double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial by Brenner and colleagues (2015) evaluated the use of GCSF and Sitagliptin (GS) to placebo following AMI and successful revascularization in 174 individuals.  Individuals received the GCSF or placebo over a 5-day period and Sitagliptin or placebo over 28 days.  The absolute change in the global LVEF and RVEF between baseline (2 to 6 days post PCI) and 6 month follow-up was designated as the primary outcome.  In the intention-to-treat analysis, there was no difference in the change in the LVEF (-0.846%; 95% CI; -3.160 to 1.468; p=0.471) or in the change in the RVEF (0.298%, 95% CI; -1.315 to 1.910; p=0.716) between the treatment and control groups.  In addition, the study did not report any positive effects in the secondary clinical outcomes including regional myocardial contraction, infarct volumes and perfusion.

There are ongoing clinical trials evaluating the optimal cell types, various delivery modes, and long-term safety and effectiveness of ACT and GCSF as adjunctive therapy.  However, the current medical evidence is insufficient to allow any conclusions regarding the use of this therapy.


Description of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

The American Heart Association (AHA) Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee (Mozaffarian, 2016) reported an estimated 85.6 million adults in the U.S. suffer from one or more types of coronary vascular disease (CVD).  Of these, 15.5 million have coronary heart disease (CHD), which includes MI (heart attack), angina (chest pain), HF, stroke and congenital cardiovascular defects.  CHD occurs when the flow of blood through one or more of the coronary arteries becomes inadequate.  This results in oxygen deprivation in the heart muscle, and may eventually result in heart attack or even death.  CVD is the most common cause of death compared to other major causes of death in the U.S.

Description of Technologies

From a basic science viewpoint, it must be shown that autologous cells, when transplanted into the heart, can (1) truly regenerate myocardium by incorporating themselves into the native tissue, surviving, differentiating, and ultimately electromechanically coupling to each other, or (2) serve as a trophic factor leading to survival of injured myocardial tissue and improved cardiac function through tissue preservation and ventricular remodeling.  For example, preliminary studies have suggested that transplanted myoblasts are potentially capable of producing disorderly or irregular heart rhythms.  

ACT for the treatment of damaged heart muscle involves the transplantation of various types of cells into a damaged heart with the goal of replacing damaged heart muscle or to assist in the healing process.  Various types of ACT have been researched to either stimulate regeneration of the heart muscle or modify ventricular remodeling post-infarct.  For example, it is thought that after an MI an increased number of hematopoietic stem cells are released into the circulation and then engrafted into the heart.  While these stem cells do not normally result in effective myocardial regeneration, it is theorized that enhancement of this process, through a form of ACT medical augmentation of stem cell production with GCSF, might result in improved cardiac regeneration or remodeling.

In humans, skeletal myoblasts, harvested from a muscle biopsy, or hematopoietic stem cells, harvested from the bone marrow or peripheral blood, or mesenchymal stem cells, harvested from the bone marrow have also been investigated as cell sources for ACT.  The harvested cells can be transplanted in a variety of ways, frequently as an adjunct to coronary artery bypass surgery; for example, either by injecting directly into the nonfunctional heart muscle, or injecting into a coronary artery or coronary sinus.  It is thought that through the release of chemokines released by the heart, circulating hematopoietic stem cells might have a natural homing ability to reach damaged myocardium.

Another method of ACT involves the infusion of growth factors, such as GCSF, with the intention of increasing the concentration of circulating hematopoietic stem cells as a treatment of damaged myocardium and enhancing recovery of the left ventricle.  GCSF is thought to also have pro-inflammatory and thrombotic effects, due to its activation of neutrophils which can result in in-stent restenosis and acute coronary syndrome.  The results of some studies have raised safety concerns about the use of GCSF in individuals with acute coronary syndrome. GCSF use has been evaluated as a stand along therapy, as well as an adjunctive therapy with ACT therapy.

The proposed benefits of ACT for the treatment of damaged myocardium are improved heart function, restored myocardial viability and potentially extended lifespan.  However, several of the published clinical trials report physiological measures as intermediate outcomes; hence, it is uncertain how this technology may improve net health outcomes.  In addition, there are known risks related to the various methods utilized to harvest and transplant autologous cells, including pain, hemorrhage, cardiac arrest, and death.


Autologous cell therapy (ACT): A medical treatment involving the transplantation of various types of cells harvested from the individual and then returned to them in a unique manner. This treatment may involve one or several types of cells and has been proposed for a wide variety of conditions.

Growth factors: A group of substances produced by the body that stimulate the survival, proliferation, differentiation and function of specific cells or tissues in the body. One example is granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF), which stimulates the production of a certain type of white blood cell.

Hematopoietic stem cells: A type of cell from which blood cells are created.

Mesenchymal stem cells: A type of bone marrow derived cell from which muscles are created. It is a term that is currently used to define non-blood adult stem cells from a variety of tissues, although it is not clear that mesenchymal stem cells from different tissues are the same.

Myocardium: The medical term for the heart muscle.

Progenitor cells: Primitive cells capable of replication, differentiation and formation into mature cells.

Remodeling: The overstretching of viable cardiac cells to maintain cardiac output.

Skeletal myoblasts: A type of cell from which skeletal muscle fibers are created.


The following codes for treatments and procedures applicable to this document are included below for informational purposes. Inclusion or exclusion of a procedure, diagnosis or device code(s) does not constitute or imply member coverage or provider reimbursement policy. Please refer to the member’s contract benefits in effect at the time of service to determine coverage or non-coverage of these services as it applies to an individual member.

When services are Investigational and Not Medically Necessary:
For the following procedure and diagnosis codes, or when the code describes a procedure indicated in the Position Statement section as investigational and not medically necessary:




Biopsy, muscle; superficial


Biopsy, muscle; deep


Biopsy, muscle; percutaneous needle


Unlisted procedure, cardiac surgery [when specified as autologous cell therapy for damaged myocardium, including harvesting and preparation of cells]






Injection, filgrastim (G-CSF), excludes biosimilars, 1 microgram



ICD-10 Diagnosis



Acute myocardial infarction


Subsequent ST elevation (STEMI) and non-ST elevation (NSTEMI) myocardial infarction


Certain current complications following ST elevation (STEMI) and non-ST elevation (NSTEMI) myocardial infarction (within the 28 day period)


Other acute ischemic heart disease

I25.10- I25.119

Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery


Old myocardial infarction


Ischemic cardiomyopathy; silent myocardial ischemia


Atherosclerosis of coronary artery bypass graft(s) and coronary artery of transplanted heart with angina pectoris


Other forms of chronic ischemic heart disease


Chronic ischemic heart disease, unspecified




Cardiomyopathy in diseases classified elsewhere


Heart failure


Myocardial degeneration


Peer Reviewed Publications:

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  3. Assmus B, Leistner DM, Schächinger V, et al. Long-term clinical outcome after intracoronary application of bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells for acute myocardial infarction: migratory capacity of administered cells determines event-free survival. Eur Heart J. 2014. 35(19):1275-1283.
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  5. Bartunek J, Behfar A, Dolatabadi, et al. Cardiopoietic stem cell therapy in heart failure: the C-CURE (Cardiopoietic stem Cell therapy in heart failURE) multicenter randomized trial with lineage-specified biologics. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013; 61(23):2329-2338.
  6. Bartunek J, Terzic A, Davison BA, et al. Cardiopoietic cell therapy for advanced ischemic heart failure: results at 39 weeks of the prospective, randomized, double blind, sham-controlled CHART-1 clinical trial. Eur Heart J. 2017; 38(9):648-660.
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  8. Brenner C, Adrion C, Grabmaier U, et al. Sitagliptin plus granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial of efficacy and safety (SITAGRAMI trial). Int J Cardiol. 2015; 205:23-30.
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  11. Fan L, Chen L, Chen X, and Fu F. A meta-analysis of stem cell mobilization by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 2008; 22(1):45-54.
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  28. Lunde K, Solheim S, Aakhus S, et al. Autologous stem cell transplantation in acute myocardial infarction: the ASTAMI randomized controlled trial. Intracoronary transplantation of autologous mononuclear bone marrow cells, study design and safety aspects. Scand Cardiovasc J. 2005; 39(3):150-158.
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  35. Pokushalov E, Romanov A, Chernyavsky A, et al. Efficiency of intramyocardial injections of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells in patients with ischemic heart failure: a randomized study. J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2010; 3(2):160-168.
  36. Povsic TJ, Henry TD, Traverse JH, et al. The RENEW Trial: Efficacy and safety of intramyocardial autologous CD34(+) cell administration in patients with refractory angina. JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2016; 9(15):1576- 1585.
  37. Robbers LF, Nijveldt R, Beek AM, et al; HEBE Investigators. Cell therapy in reperfused acute myocardial infarction does not improve the recovery of perfusion in the infarcted myocardium: A cardiac MR imaging study. Radiology. 2014; 272(1):113-122.
  38. Roncalli J, Mouquet F, Piot C, et al. Intracoronary autologous mononucleated bone marrow cell infusion for acute myocardial infarction: results of the randomized multicenter BONAMI trial. Eur Heart J. 2011; 32(14):1748-1757.
  39. San Roman JA, Sánchez PL, Villa A, et al. Comparison of different bone marrow-derived stem cell approaches in reperfused STEMI. A multicenter, prospective, randomized, open-labeled TECAM Trial. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015: 65(22):2372-2382.
  40. Schächinger V, Assmus B, Britten MB, et al. Transplantation of progenitor cells and regeneration enhancement in acute myocardial infarction: final one-year results of the TOPCARE-AMI Trial. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004; 44(8):1690-1699.
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Government Agency, Medical Society, and Other Authoritative Publications:

  1. Clifford DM, Fisher SA, Brunskill SJ, et al. Stem cell treatment for acute myocardial infarction. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012; (2):CD006536.
  2. Fisher SA, Doree C, Mathur A, et al. Stem cell therapy for chronic ischemic heart disease and congestive heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016; (12):CD007888.
  3. Fisher SA, Zhang H, Doree C, et al. Stem cell treatment for acute myocardial infarction. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015; (9):CD006536.
  4. Moazzami K, Roohi A, Moazzami B. Granulocyte colony stimulating factor therapy for acute myocardial infarction. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013; (5):CD008844.
  5. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2016 Update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016; 133(4):e38-360.
  6. Perin EC, Willerson JT, Pepine CJ, et al. Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN). Effect of transendocardial delivery of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells on functional capacity, left ventricular function, and perfusion in chronic heart failure: the FOCUS-CCTRN trial. JAMA. 2012; 307(16):1717-1726.
  7. Yancy CW, Jessup M, Bozkurt B, et al.; American College of Cardiology Foundation; American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. 2013 ACCF/AHA guideline for the management of heart failure: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013; 62(16):e147-e239.
Websites for Additional Information
  1. American Heart Association. Available at: Accessed on February 7, 2018.
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What Is Heart Failure? June 22, 2015. Available at: Accessed on February 7, 2018.
  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. What is Coronary Artery Disease? June 22, 2016. Available at: Accessed on February 7, 2018.
  4. National Institute of Health. Stem Cell Basics VII. Available at: on February 7, 2018.


Autologous Cell Therapy or Transplant

Cellular Cardiomyoplasty
Intracardiac Cell Infusion


Myocardial Regeneration




The use of specific product names is illustrative only. It is not intended to be a recommendation of one product over another, and is not intended to represent a complete listing of all products available.


Document History






Medical Policy & Technology Assessment Committee (MPTAC) review. The document header wording was updated from “Current Effective Date” to “Publish Date.” References were updated.



Updated Coding section with 10/01/2017 ICD-10-CM diagnosis code changes.



MPTAC review.  Updated Discussion, Rationale, References and Website sections.



MPTAC review.  Updated Discussion, Rationale, Reference and Website sections.



Updated Coding section with 01/01/2016 HCPCS descriptor revision for code J1442; removed ICD-9 codes.



MPTAC review. Category and number of policy changed from TRANS.00022 to MED.00117. Updated Discussion, Rationale, and Reference sections.



MPTAC review. Updated Discussion, Rationale, Coding, References, and Web Sites.



Updated Coding section with 01/01/2014 HCPCS changes; removed J1440, J1441 deleted 12/31/2013.



MPTAC review. Updated Discussion, Rationale, References, and Web Sites.



Updated Coding section with 01/01/2013 CPT descriptor change.



MPTAC review. Updated Discussion, Rationale, Coding section, References, and Web Sites.



Updated Coding section with 10/01/2011 ICD-9 changes.



MPTAC review. Updated Discussion, Rationale, References, and Websites.



MPTAC review. Updated Rationale, References, and Websites.



MPTAC review. 



Updated Coding section with 10/01/2008 ICD-9 changes.



MPTAC review. References and web sites updated. The phrase “investigational/not medically necessary” was clarified to read “investigational and not medically necessary.” This change was approved at the November 29, 2007 MPTAC meeting.



Updated Coding section with 10/01/2007 ICD-9 changes.



MPTAC review. References, web site and coding updated.



MPTAC annual review. References updated. 



MPTAC review. Revision based on Pre-merger Anthem and Pre-merger WellPoint Harmonization.

Pre-Merger Organizations

Last Review Date

Document Number


Anthem, Inc.



Autologous Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Damaged Myocardium

WellPoint Health Networks, Inc.



Autologous Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Damaged Myocardium