Artificial blood vessels resemble the natural ones
(Mirror Daily, United States) Scientists came up with a new method meant to make heart surgery easier. Researchers were able to create artificial blood vessels which can help especially children suffering from heart conditions. The results are based on studies done in lambs.
Researchers have been experiencing with blood vessels in lambs. Their function is to help blood circulate from their hearts to their lambs. The artificial blood vessels have not been tested on humans yet, and researchers are not sure that they will do it anytime soon. However, they can predict that if the procedure works, it will improve the way heart surgeries are performed on children today.
What the artificial blood vessels could do is reduce the number of surgeries that children with heart defects or cardiovascular diseases have to undergo. For the time being, doctors implant other types of vessels to children in order to keep their blood system working properly. However, they must be replaced as the young patients grow.
One of the great advantages of artificial blood vessels is that they can become a part of the patient’s organism. This means that the vessels can extend and grow as the child develops too. This way there is no need for further surgery to replace the vessels. The method turns out to be less painful and less expensive for the patients and their families.
A child diagnosed with heart problems can undergo up to seven surgeries during its lifetime. These are no easy processes, and if the method of artificial blood vessels proves to be efficient in humans, it might be a new start for cardiovascular medicine.
The only experiment conducted so far was that of implementing the artificial blood vessels back in the lambs’ bodies. First, scientists took cells and created the vessels, and then the organism of lambs received the implant. The researchers also observed that the blood vessels developed as the lambs grew to be almost one year old and up to four times larger in size. Although this is a promising premise, scientists still have to take into consideration some details before proceeding to test the product on humans.
The new study was published in Nature Communications, on September 27. Robert Tranquillo was the primary author of the study and the leader of the research team. He and his colleagues hope to obtain similar results with humans in the future.
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