Adhesions refer to a condition where the organ tissue sticks to the surrounding tissue. As per reports, 20% of cases of cardiac surgeries encounter this problem as the surgeons need to operate at the same site again. Re-operations generally occur when the patients are children suffering from cardiac malformations. This is because as the child’s heart grows, additional interventions become necessary. Adhesions are formed in the first 30 days after the operation and can complicate operations. They can augment the risk of mortality in between interventions. Sometimes, they have also been noted to interfere with proper heart function or even restrict a surgery from happening completely.
To tackle such problems, a research team has managed to design a device that can safely spray hydrogel in the area where open-heart surgery needs to be performed. The newly developed approach could bring immense benefits for the Medical Grade Hydrogel Market as it would significantly improve cardiac surgery for adults and children. Furthermore, they would also be advantageous for surgeons who would encounter difficult adhesions while performing surgeries, thus, making the treatment better for patients.
The team stated that their device consists of two main components of hydrogels in two chambers. Both the components are made up of PEG with reactive groups that crosslink together in order to make hydrogel. Moreover, one of the solutions also included catechol-modified PEG to make sure that hydrogel stays on the heart. The two solutions mix as they exit the device resulting in a gel. The process is exactly like spraying different colors of spray paint, for instance, yellow and blue, to make green.
The hydrogel’s basic function is to create a barrier to keep the heart tissue from sticking to the surrounding tissue after surgery. It was successfully tested in rodents. The research team mainly consisted of scientists, physicians, and engineers who also conducted a pilot study on porcine hearts and concluded the results to be quite positive.
It was noted that in rodents, the hydrogel completely restricted adhesions from forming. In the pilot study, hydrogels were used on porcine hearts, which showed that they experienced less severe adhesions, which were very easy to remove. Moreover, the hydrogel did not have any side effects and did not cause chronic inflammation either.
In the study, in the case of rats, 70% of them developed severe adhesions. At present, there are no FDA authorized commercial products for the prevention of adhesions that occur due to heart surgery. Hence, this product would likely have huge benefits, particularly for patients who require repeat operations, whether for the heart or other places within the body. The researchers revealed that their work is basically an engineering solution to a medical problem.
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