Repairing a Damaged, Beating Heart with Glue

Repairing a Damaged, Beating Heart with Glue

By Shinji Tutoru

HARVARD UNIVERSITY, MA, USA. An intricate surgical device that delivers glue to internal organs through keyhole incisions makes it possible to repair tissue defects and wounds in the stomach, heart and abdominal walls with minimal injury.

Ellen Roche and her colleagues at Harvard University developed a surgical device comprised of a flexible mirror, a contraption made from 2 balloons, a special repair patch that is pre-coated with light-activated glue and a fiber-optic cable.

The surgical device places the patch onto the wound. It then uses 2 balloons to apply pressure and keep it in place. The fiber-optic cable shines ultraviolet light onto a cone that reflects it over the patch, thus hardening the glue. So as the tissue heals, the patch and the glue are slowly absorbed into the body.

The device utilizes a biodegradable adhesive that was developed a year ago. When ultraviolet light is applied to the glue, it quickly solidifies. The adhesive has already been used in holding biodegradable patches for repairing tissue damage in pigs and rats.

The team successfully used this new technique when they operated on a live pig to close a hole between the left and right ventricles of its heart while still beating.

The device has made it possible to repair heart defects in an open-heart surgery without the need to stop the heart from beating which is usually done during a lung and heart bypass. There are patients that can have such defect repaired via a catheter through a small incision. The thing with such devices that repair the hole is that they are metallic and they stay in the body. This can sometimes cause the erosion of the tissues. It might even interfere with the conduction of the heart’s electrical signals.

Invention Repairing a Damaged, Beating Heart with Glue
Organization Harvard University
Researcher Ellen Roche & Team
Field(s) Mechanical Engineering, Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Devices, Bioinspired Engineering and Biomimetic
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