Researchers at Brown University have developed a type of adhesive patch that can adhere directly to heart muscle to prevent post heart attack damage. The patch, made of a water-based hydrogel material, was found to be successful in animal models for preventing stretching of the heart muscle that commonly occurs after a heart attack. The team's research was recently published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
“Part of the reason that it’s hard for the heart to recover after a heart attack is that it has to keep pumping,” says paper co-author Huajian Gao, professor of engineering at Brown. “The idea here is to provide mechanical support for damaged tissue, which hopefully gives it a chance to heal.”
From the Brown University article: "With those properties in hand, the team turned to the biomaterials lab of Lei Yang, a Brown Ph.D. graduate who is now a professor at Soochow University and Hebei University of Technology in China. Yang and his team developed a hydrogel material made from food-sourced starch that could match the properties from the model. The key to the material is that it’s viscoelastic, meaning it combines fluid and solid properties. It has fluid properties up to a certain amount of stress, at which point it solidifies and becomes stiffer. That makes the material ideal for both accommodating the movement of the heart and for provided necessary support, the researchers say.
The material is also cheap (a patch costs less than a penny, the researchers say) and easy to make, and experiments showed that it was nontoxic. The rodent study ultimately showed that it was effective in reducing post-heart attack damage."
Read more about the adhesive patch that reduces post heart attack damage at Brown University.