Medical glue could replace stitches
- 09 Jan
A medical superglue has been developed which has the potential to patch heart defects.
This new superglue may eventually replace the need for stitches and staples in the heart, gut and blood vessel surgery believes a US team. Tests on pigs have shown that it can seal cardiac defects in seconds and withstand the forces inside the heart.
The glue has been inspired by the sticking abilities of slugs and could be made available for human use within two years, reports the BBC.
This skin glue is a special type of medical adhesive which is used to join the edges of a wound together whilst the wound begins to heal. Medics can use the skin to glue to close wounds, instead of other methods such as stitches or staples.
However the medical glue has not proved strong enough to withstand the forces inside the pumping chambers of the heart or major blood vessels until now.
The glue has been developed by Harvard Medical School and can provide a waterproof seal which is bonded within seconds via the shine of a UV light.
Study co-author Prof Jeffrey Karp, of Brigham and Women's Hospitalin Boston, Massachusetts, told BBC News: "We have developed a surgical glue that can be used in open and more invasive procedures and seal dynamic tissues such as blood vessels and the heart, as well as the intestines.
"We think that our glue could augment stitches or staples or possibly replace them. Study co-author Prof Jeffrey Karp, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, told BBC News: "We have developed a surgical glue that can be used in open and more invasive procedures and seal dynamic tissues such as blood vessels and the heart, as well as the intestines. We think that our glue could augment stitches or staples or possibly replace them. More importantly, this should open the door to a greater adaptation of minimally invasive procedures."
The researchers have tested the glue on the hearts of pigs during surgery and found that it could effectively repair heart defects in the animals.
Further studies testing the safety on the glue I humans are needed, however the results suggest that the new surgical glue could be used for sealing open wounds quickly in trauma.
Dr Sanjay Thakrar from the British Heart Foundation said: "The cardiovascular system is a dynamic environment where there is continuous blood flow and tissue contractions and existing glues often don't work well in these conditions. These researchers seem to have found an innovative way to overcome these issues, which could be especially useful during minimally invasive procedures. As the scientists only measured the effectiveness of the glue over a short time period, it is important to see how the glue performs for longer durations."
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