- Hydrogel that can prevent heart
failure after a heart attack has been identified
- The hydrogel can support the heart
cells that have been damaged.
- It prevents the development of
heart tissue and enlargement of the heart.
In the United States, every 43 seconds some one has a heart attack.
735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year out of which 525,000 people
have an attack for the first time. A heart
occurs when a part of the heart does not receive the required
blood flow. When it is left untreated, it leads to thinning of the heart walls,
enlargement of the heart and development of scar tissue.
Heart attack is most often
caused due to coronary artery disease
formed in the arteries or thickening of the arteries can restrict the flow of
blood to the tissues of the heart, leading to damage to cells.
‘Hydrogel can revolutionize treatment for people who survive a heart attack.’
Heart Failure after
More than 5
million Americans suffer from heart failure after a heart attack
. One in 5 heart attacks is a silent heart attack where the
individual is unaware about the occurrence, however, normally there is a
searing pain as an indication of an attack.
failure that occurs after a heart attack can slowly lead to fatigue along with
shortness of breath and eventually lead to death if left untreated.
Dr. Jason A.
Burdick who is the lead author of the study says "Heart failure is a huge
problem, and few therapies are available for these patients."
Cells as Treatment
A heart attack
warrants treatment and the treatment options that are currently available
include a change in the lifestyle of the individual, medication or in extreme
cases, a heart transplant
. While a donor for a heart
transplant is hard to find, the other options too offer limited support.
injected cells into the damaged area of the heart to aid in recovery. However,
the cells tended to move or leak out, which prompted the scientists to then
embed them in hydrogels, which are polymer chains with water.
The cells were
injected embedded in these hydrogels into mice and the control group included
mice that were injected with hydrogels without the cells. The study found that
mice that were injected with blank hydrogels showed recovery even though there
were no cells inside.
The finding of
the study has prompted other labs to try and develop a hydrogel that can be
used on heart attack survivors. Dr. Burdick declares that it is important that
this research is carried forward to figure out how this method can be adopted
Work on Hydrogels
There are a
couple of labs that have begun work on these hydrogels and their effectiveness
in controlling heart failure after a heart attack. However the researchers from
University of Penn have based their hydrogel on a sugar compound that is
present naturally in the body, called hyaluronic acid.
- To facilitate easy flow through
the catheter the researchers include cyclodextrin and adamantane.
- Methacrylate and thiol group were
included so that there would be additional cross-linking. This would make
the gel stronger when compared with hydrogels currently being worked on at
Benefits of Using this
- The gel developed by Burdick and
colleagues has more cross-links when compared with other hydrogels being
- The damaged heart area gets
additional support from this gel
- Scar tissue formation is lowered
- There is control over the thinning
of heart walls after an attack.
- The size of the organ is
controlled by controlling enlargement of the heart that occurs after a
- As the size of the heart is
controlled, it prevents the leakage of blood via the mitral valve.
study that focuses on using hydrogel in the control of heart failure after a
heart attack shows a lot of promise. The researchers have said that they would
like to partner with a catheter company after they have completed their
research on their hydrogel and have improved their composition and delivery
Tips to Prevent Heart Disease
- Choose a healthy diet plan
- Adequate physical activity
- Know your family history
- Tame your stress
- Watch your weight
- Don't smoke
- Monitor blood pressure and
- Heart Attack - (http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/heart_attack.htm)
- What Is a Heart Attack? - (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack)