What Is The Total Number of Heart Muscle Cells?

Majid Ali, M.D.


There are 2–4 billion heart muscle cells in the walls of the main chamber of the heart which pumps blood to all parts of the body. This chamber is called left ventricle and nearly all deaths occurring quickly after a heart attacks result from injury to muscle cells (cardiomyocyte) of this chamber. As many as 25% (one billion or so) of these cells are wiped out within a few hours in some cases of heart attack.


Death of Individual Heart Muscle Cells (Cardiac Myocytolysis)

In 1980, I introduced the term cardiac myocytolysis for the death of individual heart muscle cells which at time could be recognized only with a microscopic examination of hearts dissected at autopsy. Specifically, I along with my colleagues, correlated the extent of cardiac myocytolysis with the degrees of functional deficit of the heart (ejection fraction) during life. We published our findings in two preeminent journals, American Heart Journal and Kidney International.


Why is the Death of Heart Muscle cells Neglected By Cardiologists?

The simple answer: Because there are no drugs available to treat it. The condition of cardiac myocytolysis is always associated with non-fatal injury to heart muscle cells, which can only be addressed by nutritional and blood detox therapies. I discuss this subject at length in my article entitled “Cardiomyocytic Heart Disease.”


Suggested Readings

  • Cardiac Myocytic Heart Disease
  • Oxygen Model of Heart Disease
  • Dr. Ali’s Heart Course

n

heart

acute

, and a myocardial infarction can wipe out 25% of these in a few hours4. The walls of the chamber of the heart which pumps

This is more than an academic argument. Heart failure is a burgeoning public health problem, and some predict that it will reach epidemic proportions as our population ages. Cardiomyocyte deficiency underlies most causes of heart failure. The human left ventricle has 2–4 billion cardiomyocytes, and a myocardial infarction can wipe out 25% of these in a few hours4. Disorders of cardiac overload such as hypertension or valvular heart disease kill cardiomyocytes slowly over many years5, and ageing is associated with the loss of ~1 g of myocardium (about 20 million cardiomyocytes) per year in the absence of specific heart disease6. If the human heart has even a small innate regenerative response, it may be possible to exploit this therapeutically to enhance the heart’s function. This fundamental motivation has kept investigators pursuing rare events for more than a century.

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