Myocardial infarction or heart attacks as they are more commonly known are all too common an occurrence and in the US someone suffers from a heart attack every 34 seconds. It happens when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted thus injuring the heart as it does not receive the oxygen it needs to function correctly. These blockages can occur for a number of reasons but the most common is due to build up of white blood cells, cholesterol and fat. In many of these cases acute events take place as the attack is sudden and serious.

Immediate treatment is important and this is where Sweden is leading Britain in diagnosis, treatment and the ultimate recovery of the heart attack victims.

In a recent study researchers believe more than 11,000 lives could have been saved if the UK adopted similar technology sooner. The report highlighted 30 days following the heart attack, patient mortality in the UK was a third higher than for Swedish patients. Further studies showed the difference was due to Sweden's method of treatment which included introducing new developments in angioplasty, where arteries are pushed open and thrombolysis, where the blockage is removed by medication. In more complex situations bypass surgery and transplant are considered.

Now, new developments in tissue engineering may help improve patient mortality rates in cases where transplant was the only option. Scientists are testing new methods of generating heart tissue in the lab which can then be implanted into patients to aid repair and recovery.

If the research succeeds we could see a vast improvement in survival rates especially in the more complex cases where heart transplant is the only option.