A patch has been designed that regenerates cardiac muscle damaged by a heart attack or heart failure. The mesh patch is made of vicryl, which is a material primarily used for suturing injured tissue while later becoming absorbed by the body.
Jordan J. Lancaster, a predoctoral fellow at the Southern Arizona VA Medical Center in Tucson, has said, "The mesh is grown in a bioreactor with human dermal fibroblast cells. We evaluated this patch in two studies. One was in an acute situation, immediately after a heart attack, the other was in chronic heart failure."
He further explained that after a heart attack there is abnormal enlargement of the left ventricle, which pumps blood to the body. The ventricle then works harder, which can lead to heart failure.
For the research, the patch was applied to rats following a heart attack and the scientists were able to prevent negative functioning and negative remodeling. The study showed that blood flow was increased to the heart muscle by 37 percent for rats who received the patch immediately after having a heart attack. The blood pumping ability of the heart increased by 40 percent.
Several human trials are now being conducted on the patch to find the effect of the patch on heart function. Another trial takes a detailed look at heart tissue after the patch has been applied.
Scientists are going to conduct further studies in order to gain more knowledge about the patch and its role in helping the heart.