A new “bio-glue” — an experimental adhesive gel that is activated by a flash of light — has been proven to stop high pressure bleeding in the hearts of pigs.
A team of researchers from Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China, accepted the challenge.
Inspired by the matrix composition of human connective tissues, they created a gel composed of a network of proteins and other molecules. The product, which requires ultraviolet light to activate, can adhere within seconds and then bond to wet biological tissue surfaces.
In early experiments, the research team showed that their bio-glue could seal wounds to pig livers.
Next, they demonstrated that wounds and punctures of hearts — among the most difficult of surgical challenges — could also be sealed using only the bio-glue, no stitches.
In pigs, the bio-glue sealed a punctured carotid artery, a major blood vessel in the neck, in less than a minute and also filled holes in the cardiac wall. The Chinese researchers monitored their post-surgical pigs for a two-week recovery period and saw natural healing with no abnormalities or unusual inflammation.
The surgical repairs can withstand a systolic blood pressure reading of up to 290 millimeters of mercury, or mmHg, which is “significantly higher” than systolic readings seen by most doctors (the usual range is between 60 and 160), the study authors noted.
“Most importantly, the hydrogel can stop high-pressure bleeding from pig carotid arteries with 4~ 5 mm-long incision wounds and from pig hearts with 6 mm diameter cardiac penetration holes.”
Based on these early experiments, the bio-glue shows promise for use in human surgeries and to stop emergency bleeding, the authors concluded.