Emerging treatment options for refractory angina pectoris: Ranolazine, shock wave treatment, and cell-based therapies

Marco Gennari, Elisa Gambini, Beatrice Bassetti, Maurizio Capogrossi, Giulio Pompilio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A challenge of modern cardiovascular medicine is to find new, effective treatments for patients with refractory angina pectoris, a clinical condition characterized by severe angina despite optimal medical therapy. These patients are not candidates for surgical or percutaneous revascularization. Herein we review the most up-to-date information regarding the modern approach to the patient with refractory angina pectoris, from conventional medical management to new medications and shock wave therapy, focusing on the use of endothelial precursor cells (EPCs) in the treatment of this condition. Clinical limitations of the efficiency of conventional approaches justify the search for new therapeutic options. Regenerative medicine is considered the next step in the evolution of organ replacement therapy. It is driven largely by the same health needs as transplantation and replacement therapies, but it aims further than traditional approaches, such as cell-based therapy. Increasing knowledge of the role of circulating cells derived from bone marrow (EPCs) on cardiovascular homeostasis in physiologic and pathologic conditions has prompted the clinical use of these cells to relieve ischemia. The current state of therapeutic angiogenesis still leaves many questions unanswered. It is of paramount importance that the treatment is delivered safely. Direct intramyocardial and intracoronary administration has demonstrated acceptable safety profiles in early trials, and may represent a major advance over surgical thoracotomy. The combined efforts of bench and clinical researchers will ultimately answer the question of whether cell therapy is a suitable strategy for treatment of patients with refractory angina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalReviews in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Coronary artery disease
  • Refractory angina pectoris
  • Stem cell therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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