Heart hope over implant arteries
A revolutionary technique using a medical equipment coating and plastic surgery implants may help ward off heart disease, scientists believe.
Nearly 3m people in the UK are living with heart disease
A Brunel University team is looking to develop tubes from collagen implants to bypass blocked arteries.
They believe a diamond-like carbon coating - used on catheters to stop clogging - will stop these tubes becoming blocked.
But the British Heart Foundation said there were doubts that it would work.
The researchers believe their technique could be used to help treat some of the 2.7m people living with heart disease in the UK.
The overwhelming cause of heart disease is atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty materials within the walls of the arteries.
As the arteries narrow with the build up, less blood flows through them and they become prone to clotting.
The researchers said they believed they could use their technique to insert the tubes into the body and bypass blockages.
But researchers now need to establish how to seal the tubes to the blood vessels.
Diamond-like carbon is tough as well as slippery so substances do not stick to it
Belinda Linden, of the British Heart Foundation
At the moment doctors have to use other blood vessels to bypass blockages, known as coronary bypass surgery.
The team has already established the coated tubes, made from an implant called Permacol, are stable when inserted into the body.
Dr. Ian Kill, of the university's school of health sciences and social care, said the research could "potentially have a huge impact on tackling one of Britain's major fatal diseases".
"Natural and artificial biomaterials are now commonly used in medical applications in order to treat augment or replace a tissue, organ or function of the body," he said.
"Diamond-like carbon is tough as well as slippery so substances do not stick to it.
"It is also inert and does not generate an immune or inflammatory reaction within the body.
"It is therefore an ideal substance to be used for this purpose."
Belinda Linden, head of medical information at the British Heart Foundation, said there were doubts whether the technique would work.
"While it is important to explore many avenues to find ways to reduce build up of fatty deposits in the arteries, it is uncertain whether this research will demonstrate any significant benefits of DLC over other materials used as coatings."
Source: BBC News