Hydrogels for the heart may prevent common postoperative complications

After an open heart surgery, the scar tissue formed in the heart may attach to the surrounding tissue. Such complications are known as adhesions, and new hydrogels may help prevent the development of adhesions.

Not really always Adhesion of the heart, which is a serious problem, can prevent the heart from functioning normally and can also make it impossible to safely perform subsequent heart surgery. The latter problem is especially true for children, as it can require multiple steps as the heart grows.

That’s where hydrogel is designed to come in. Developed by a team at the University of California, San Diego, it consists of two parts: an organic compound called polyethylene glycol (PEG), a water-soluble polymer-based material. A catechol containing a muscle-binding amino acid named L-dopa.

Two different formulations of PEG, one of which is combined with catechol, are contained in separate chambers of the applicator device. After the heart surgery is complete, the device is used to spray two types of PEG simultaneously onto the muscle surface. When they mix, their molecules crosslink each other to form elastic hydrogels that bind to heart tissue.

The gel acts as a barrier to prevent adhesions from occurring while allowing the heart to expand and contract normally. It dissolves harmlessly within 6-8 weeks. This is much longer than the 30-day period after which adhesions usually form and does not cause an inflammatory reaction in the heart.

In tests conducted to date, hydrogel completely prevented rat heart adhesions and significantly reduced porcine heart adhesions. Hydrogel is currently commercialized by spin-off company Karios Technologies and is expected to be available to human patients within 5 years.

“Our work is an engineering solution driven by medical problems,” says Chief Scientist Professor Karen Christman. “And now we are ready to significantly improve heart surgery in both adults and children.”

A research paper was recently published in a journal Nature Communications..

Source: University of California, San Diego via Eurek Alert Hydrogels for the heart may prevent common postoperative complications

Back to top button