Scientists at the University of Waterloo have obtained seaweed material that can be used for heart bypass surgery.
In heart bypass surgery, doctors restore blood flow to certain areas of the heart that have been disrupted by blocked vessels. To do this, additional small vessels are transplanted into the heart, but they can also become blocked by a blood clot, just like the previous ones.
According to an article in the journal Bioactive Materials, experts have created a material from seaweed that promotes vascular cell growth and improves vessel wall characteristics. The material is called fucoidan and has a microstructure similar to that of heparin, a drug used as an anticoagulant.
The material is applied to the inner surface of the transplanted vessel in a thin layer using micropatterning, a technology used in the electronics industry. As a result, the number of postoperative complications is reduced and the risk of recurrence of a blockage that would otherwise require a new surgery is reduced.