Boston, MA When a child is born with a heart defect such as a hole in the heart, the highly invasive therapies are challenging due to an inability to quickly and safely secure devices inside the heart. Sutures take too much time to stitch and can cause stress on fragile heart tissue, and currently available clinical adhesives are either too toxic or tend to lose their sticking power in the presence of blood or under dynamic conditions, such as in a beating heart.
"About 40,000 babies are born with congenital heart defects in the United States annually, and those that require treatment are plagued with multiple surgeries to deliver or replace non-degradable implants that do not grow with young patients," says Jeffrey Karp, PhD, Division of Biomedical Engineering, BWH Department of Medicine, co-senior study author of a new study that may improve how surgeons treat congenital heart defects.
The study will be published on January 8, 2014, in Science Translational Medicine.
In the preclinical study, researchers from Boston Children's Hospital, BWH and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a bio-inspired adhesive that could rapidly attach biodegradable patches inside a beating heartin the exact place where congenital holes in the heart occur, such as with ventricular heart defects.
Recognizing that many creatures in nature have secretions that are viscous and repel water, enabling them to attach under wet and dynamic conditions, the researchers developed a material with these properties that also is biodegradable, elastic and biocompatible. According to the study authors, the degradable patches secured with the glue remained attached even at increased heart rates and blood pressure.
"This adhesive platform addresses all of the drawbacks of previous systems in that it works in the presence of blood and moving structures," says Pedro del Nido, MD, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Boston Children's
|Contact: Lori J Schroth|
Brigham and Women's Hospital