Cardiovascular Patch to Limit Damage After Heart Attack

Researchers from Brown University have utilized computational models to design a new viscoelastic patch to reduce damage to heart tissue after a heart attack. They utilized a special blend of starch to help provide mechanical support to the heart tissue, which typically stretches after heart attack and results in poor heart function.

“Part of the reason that it’s hard for the heart to recover after a heart attack is that it has to keep pumping,” said Huajian Gao, a professor of engineering at Brown and a co-author on the paper. “The idea here is to provide mechanical support for damaged tissue, which hopefully gives it a chance to heal.”

The investigators developed computational models of hearts beating and evaluated what kind of biomaterial patch would provide sufficient mechanical support. They used a biomaterial that was visco-elastic, which contains solid-like properties to provide stiffness and liquid-like properties to expand and flow in order to best support and accommodate the beating heart. When tested in rat models of heart failure, the researchers found improved heart function and reduced myocyte hypertrophy.

In addition, they demonstrated that the cardiovascular patch prevented the heart tissue from undergoing RNA-level changes in ventricular remodeling, further supporting their findings of improved heart function. This kind of system can serve as a future preventative method to help reduce tissue damage after heart failure.

The publication in Nature Biomedical Engineering: A viscoelastic adhesive epicardial patch for treating myocardial infarction…

Via: Brown University…