Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a spray hydrogel that forms a protective coating on tissue surfaces, such as the heart surface. The new material is intended to prevent the formation of adhesions, where the tissues inside the body adhere abnormally after a surgical procedure. Reticulated ice persists on the surface of the tissue for four weeks, protecting the tissue when there is a higher risk of adhesions.
Adhesions usually form during the first month after surgery. However, they can interfere with repeated surgeries at the same site, increasing the risk and complexity of these procedures, and can even affect organ function. They can be a particular problem in cardiac surgery, where there is a high level of repeated operations (approximately 20% of cases), as can be seen in cases involving children who may require several surgeries to resolve defects that evolve as they progress. that the child grows.
There are currently no FDA-approved treatments to prevent or reduce adhesions that form due to heart surgery. “Our work is an engineering solution driven by a medical problem,” Karen Christman, a researcher involved in the study, said in a UCSD press release. “And now it’s about to significantly improve heart surgery, for both adults and children.”
The technology consists of a sprayable hydrogel that adheres to the fabric in contact and forms a durable but soft and flexible coating. The gel is designed to prevent adhesions, but should not restrict the movement or function of the organs. As the gel layer disintegrates within 4 to 6 weeks of application, the tissue is protected the first month after surgery, the time during which adhesions normally form.
To make sure the ice stays liquid and sprayable, the researchers deliver it in two parts that form a layer of semi-solid ice when combined on the surface of the tissue. They designed a special spray device with two chambers to hold each of the ice components, which are sprayed simultaneously through two different nozzles.
The components of the gel chemically interlace with each other on the surface of the tissue to form the protective layer. By adjusting the formulation of the gel, the researchers assured that it would form a robust and durable layer on the heart without swelling. If the material swells, it would produce unwanted pressure on the heart and restrict its heartbeat.
So far, researchers have tested the ice on rodents and pig hearts, with promising results, and have created a spin-off company (Karios Technologies) to research and market the technology.
Study a Communications on Nature: Prevention of post-surgical cardiac adhesions with a catechol-functionalized oxime hydrogel