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UCC researchers invent new heart device

Monday, August 25 17:25:50

UCC's Centre for Research in Vascular Biology has developed a new device with the potential to revolutionise the fight against heart disease.

The new device promotes the bypass of arterial obstructions, potentially removing the need for major surgery.

Worldwide, there are approximately three million open heart coronary bypass and peripheral artery bypass operations each year. These procedures involve major surgery with inherent risks of anaesthesia, ventilation, surgical trauma and potential complications such as kidney failure and wound infection. Around 20pc of all patients requiring surgery are unable to undergo such bypass procedures because of the poor status of their arteries or co-existing illness that would make the risk of surgery too great.

Publishing in the latest issue of the prestigious journal Biomaterials, the research project (led by Professor Noel Caplice in UCC with collaborators in the Mayo Clinic, USA) has developed a vascular cell delivery device and tested it successfully in a large animal model with similar sized arteries to humans. The device is inserted via a keyhole procedure through the artery to the site of obstruction and promotes micro-bypass of this obstruction over a four week period. This results in the return of normal heart function and a recovery of full exercise capacity.

Professor Noel Caplice, Director of the Centre for Research in Vascular Biology at UCC and Chair of Cardiovascular Sciences says: "If reproduced in humans this device would offer an alternative to open surgical bypass operations with implications for treatment of patients who are currently inoperable. It also has the potential to reduce costs and time spent in hospital."

Professor Caplice is a practicing interventional cardiologist.

Plans are now in place to test this technology over the coming years in patients who require bypass surgery but would otherwise be deemed unfit for surgical intervention.

"We anticipate that this work could be completed over the next 3-5 years," says Professor Caplice.

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