Friday, October 30, 2015
Fixing holes in the heart without invasive surgery
Repairing defects and ruptures deep inside the body may have just gotten a whole lot less invasive. Up until now, fixing damaged cardiac tissue, ulcers, hernias and holes in other places within patients has meant serious surgery and sutures to bring tissue together so it can repair itself.
A new much less invasive procedure that harnesses a catheter equipped with inflatable balloons and ultraviolet light-activated, biodegradable adhesive patches.
A team from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital catheter has successfully used the device in animals to repair holes in organs without needing to resort to risky major surgery and stitches that can erode tissue over time.
The device harnesses a newly developed light-activated glue that works in the wet, dynamic environment inside organs. This glue coats a patch, which can be delivered to the site where it’s needed and holds damaged tissue together. Over time the tissue heals and regrows over the patch as it slowly dissolves. The problem has been figuring out how to deliver the patch without still needing to resort to traditional surgery.
The team developed a delivery system that can travel through the body via blood vessels like current heart catheters. Once there, the catheter is pushed through the damaged tissue until its forward balloon is on one side and a rear balloon is on the other side.
The two balloons are inflated to hold the glue patch against the damaged tissue. A UV light within the catheter is turned on, activating the glue until it cures against the damaged tissue. Next, the two balloons are deflated and the catheter is retracted, leaving the patch in place. The whole operation can take minutes and without the need to do something major like stop a beating heart to make the repair.