Oct. 18, 2021 — After a heart attack, the broken space of the heart usually turns into scar tissue that may’t obtain electrical messages to contract and pump blood to the physique. The result’s a weakened coronary heart that might get an irregular beat, generally known as an arrhythmia, or go into failure.

Proper now, docs have two imperfect choices for repairing this broken tissue. One is to surgically implant a scaffold that conducts electrically and bridges the guts’s signaling system previous the lifeless tissue. However these implants require open-chest surgical procedure, which is dangerous and might result in different coronary heart issues.

Clinicians can use an strategy that avoids opening the chest, however the patch used for these procedures could not maintain its form when grafted to broken tissue.

Now, scientists could also be engaged on a repair that guarantees the perfect of each worlds: an injectable patch that conducts electrical energy and retains its form as soon as grafted to coronary heart muscle.

The patch hasn’t been examined in people — any such trials are nonetheless a great distance off — however early leads to animals present potential.

This experimental patch could be rolled up, threaded right into a catheter or a syringe, and injected into broken coronary heart tissue, the place it unfurls and attaches to the muscle. As soon as in place, the patch helps regular coronary heart operate, based on outcomes from research utilizing rats and pigs. The findings had been printed inNature Biomedical Engineering.

When researchers positioned the patch on broken coronary heart muscle in rats, they discovered this repair resulted in a return to largely regular coronary heart operate inside 4 weeks. Outcomes had been comparable when scientists examined the patch in a small variety of pigs, that are thought of to resemble people extra carefully than rodents.

The patched hearts did a greater job in pumping oxygen-rich blood to the physique, and the quantity of coronary heart tissue that wasn’t getting sufficient oxygen additionally declined.