Repairing the Heart: Light-Activated Surgical Glue

Repairing the Heart: Light-Activated Surgical Glue

Author: Melania Tesio

One of the major challenges in cardiovascular surgery is to seal heart tissues or attach prosthetics under blood flow. Current surgical glues only weakly adhere to wet tissues, such as blood vessels, and they are washed out in the presence of flowing blood.

To overcome this problem, Pedro J. del Nido, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, and co-workers developed a novel adhesive material based on poly(glycerol sebacate acrylate) (PGSA; pictured), a hydrophobic biocompatible pre-polymer. By exposing PGSA to UV light in the presence of a photoinitiator, the researchers cross-linked the pre-polymer and obtained a flexible polymeric film that firmly adheres to wet tissues and is resistant to blood flow.
When tested in rats and pigs, the new material behaves as a strong surgical glue, as it could seal broken arterial walls and repair heart defects.

This novel adhesive could, thus, have important applications in cardiovascular surgery.

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