Artificial arteries could help those with heart problems

3 February 2011

Scientists have created a new synthetic tube which could be used as an alternative in heart bypass operations to a person's own arteries.

Bypasses are usually carried out when the arteries from a person's heart become narrowed or completely blocked.

Traditional bypass treatments use either arteries from another part of a person's body or a tailored, patient-specific graft that substantially increases treatment time.

However, researchers from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina have created a synthetic alternative that uses a tube-shaped scaffold to grow entirely new arteries from human muscle cells. These new arteries can be stored for up to 12 months.

Writing in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers said: "Patients have no waiting period for graft production because the grafts have already been created and stored as opposed to custom-made grafts for each patient that involve a lengthy waiting time."

1 Dahl, Shannon et al. "Readily Available Tissue-Engineered Vascular Grafts". Science Translational Medicine. Wednesday, February 2nd 2011.

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