Doctors have for long relied on veins taken out of a person's body to replace narrowed, blocked or damaged blood vessels. Not anymore if a doctor's invention; a plastic vein, makes its way, to store shelves.
Dr. Peter Stonebridge from Ninewells hospital in Dundee has developed an artificial vein, which he claims could boost surgery, and avoid patient trauma. This is by eliminating the need to extract veins needed for an operation from the patient himself.
According to Stonebridge and colleagues who created this artificial vein, blood will flow in exactly the way it does through the human body- in a twisting or spiraling action.
The artificial vein has been created from a polymer called ePTFE. It is grooved on the inside akin to a gun barrel, which Stonebridge says encourages the spiraling flow of blood.
He lists other advantages as reduced wear and tear of the device, lesser chances of clogging and aid in the removal of blockages.
According to Stonebridge, the device is ideal as an alternative in bypass operations and very helpful for patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease. The latter develops when fatty material builds up, and begins to narrow the blood vessels. It can lead to serious mobility problems and, in very severe cases, the need for limb amputation. It can also cause heart attacks and strokes.
Though synthetic grafts have been developed for use in operations to bypass clogged blood vessels many get clogged up with fatty deposits themselves, and often fail within two years, causing surgeons to rely on taking blood vessels from the patient's body.
Tests on 22 patients in Holland and Belgium showed that the vein not only encouraged a healthy blood flow, but also remained fully open a year after they were fitted.
One 73-year-old female patient who had very limited movement, and night cramps is now able to walk again following surgery.
Medical professionals and scientists alike have welcomed the invention, though some advice follow-up studies to ensure the functionality of the device in the long run.