Health Patching up damaged hearts

Patching up damaged hearts

The development of a polymer patch that improves the conduction of electrical impulses across damaged heart tissue is a significant advance in heart attack research.

The research is being undertaken by an Australian and British team led by Dr Damia Mawad at UNSW in Sydney and Professor Molly Stevens at Imperial College London.

The flexible patch, which has been shown to work in animal models, is long lasting and has the significant advantage that it can be stuck onto the heart without the need for stitches.

“Heart attacks create a scar which slows and disrupts the conduction of electrical impulses across the heart,” says study team member Professor Sian Harding.

“This leads to potentially fatal disturbances of the heart rhythm. Our electrically conducting polymer patch is designed to address this serious problem.”

Team members found the patch improved the conduction of electrical impulses across the heart scar tissue.

However, they stress that the research is in its very early stages.

“The patch can help us better understand how conductive materials interact with heart tissue and influence the electrical conduction in the heart, as well as better understand the physiological changes associated with heart attacks,” said Professor Stevens.

You can read more about how the polymer patch works here. Story credit: University of New South Wales newsroom.

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