Heart Surgery
Raquel Del Carmen, who is seven-months-old, lies on her bed at the William Soler Children's Heart Center as she waits for surgery in Havana October 7, 2013. Reuters/Desmond Boylan

Scientists have developed injectable hydrogels to prevent heart failure. The gels can be injected into the heart that shore up weakened areas after a heart attack and can prevent further heart failure. These gels may one day make open-heart surgeries to prevent heart failures a thing of the past.

The gel solution, which is made up of naturally occurring sugar molecule found in the body, provided mechanical support to stabilise damaged area and also limited the formation of scar tissue, in animal tests carried out by University of Pennsylvania scientists.

Moreover, the gels naturally stopped thing of heart’s walls and also enlargement of heart. They prevented blood leakage through valves by preserving the heart’s natural size. The hydrogel developed by scientists does not require any open-heart surgery for insertion into the heart but can be injected into damaged tissue using a catheter in the skin.

The gel has proven to be effective in providing long-term protection from heart failure. The team of researchers said that the gel, even when inserted without presence of new cells, showed signs of improvement in animal hearts compared to non-treated hearts.

The biodegradable gels are currently being used by medics as a vehicle to insert rejuvenating cells into heart muscles to repair weakened areas, writes Huffpost Tech.

It is estimated that over 350,000 Australians have had a heart attack at some time in their lives and each year, about 54,000 Australians suffer a heart attack. This means one heart attack every nine minutes. According to Heart Foundation, heart attack claimed 8,611 lives in 2013.

“It's important we all keep moving forward to figure out how this therapy could be used, because it's different than any current treatment,” Ph.D. and leader of the study, Jason A. Burdick, said in a statement.

Once the researchers finalise the hydrogel formulation and also the delivery method, they will be partnering with a catheter firm to bring the product to the market. They are also designing hydrogels that can contain cells or drugs for heart tissue repair.