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Newly designed cardiac patch could help aid in heart attack recovery process

In early trials on animals, the patch has been effective

Photo (c) PeopleImages - Getty Images
Recovering from a heart attack, both mentally and physically, can be a difficult process for many consumers. Now, experts from the American Chemical Society have created a cardiac patch that could aid in patients’ recovery from a heart attack. 

Though these earliest trials have been conducted on mice and pigs, the researchers learned that the patch was an integral part of the recovery process, as it was effective in reducing inflammation and improving overall heart function. 

Improving health outcomes

The goal of the cardiac patch was to target the areas of the heart that are most affected by a heart attack, and that are often the most difficult parts of the recovery process. This included inflammation, the loss of cardiac cells, and the impairment of blood vessels. To promote cell growth and regeneration, the patch was designed with a combination of synthetic blood vessels and human cardiac stromal cells. 

The patches were administered to mice and pigs four weeks after they had had heart attacks, and the researchers then analyzed their health outcomes. They learned that the patch was successful in healing many of the areas that patients struggle with after a heart attack. 

The pigs that were given the patch had lower levels of inflammation than those who hadn’t received the patch, and they also saw improvements in the growth of new blood vessels. 

Additionally, the patch made it possible for cardiac cells to remain at a healthy level. For the mice, the researchers noticed that the patch improved blood flow throughout the heart and was linked with less scar tissue overall. 

Though the researchers explained that much more work needs to be done before the patch can be tested on humans, these findings are positive. Heart attack recovery is a long, arduous process -- and because of the early effectiveness of this cardiac patch, it could play a large role in heart attack recovery in the future. 

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