Scientists have found that an embryo’s heart begins pounding already after 16 days after conception. This discovery may lead to the development of new treatments for congenital heart defects.
Until recently, in science, it was assumed that the first fetal heartbeat is heard by approximately the 22nd day after successful conception. However, new research involving mice has shown that this happens much earlier. British researchers from Oxford University found that the heart of the baby begins to knock on the 17th day after conception.
In the course of their study, researchers tried to better understand how the heart develops and what causes the defects that occur in the womb before birth. At this point, they found that the heart begins to beat before the term is customary in science, and thus, appear sooner and problems with its development. Thus science is one step closer to the methods of prevention of congenital heart defects that are formed during fetal development.
Scientists also hope their findings will help to better understand how it is possible to artificially stimulate contractions of cardiac muscle cells with their replacement after a heart attack. Thus, it may be a new method of restoration of the damaged heart after a heart attack. This kind of damage can lead to the development of deadly heart failure.
Congenital heart defects are diagnosed in one child of every 180 births. The scientists hope that their findings will allow to better understand how the heart is formed in the womb to prevent such defects.