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UV-light enabled catheter fixes heart defects without surgery

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Advances in medicine are treating patients in ways that were never thought possible. The latest breakthrough comes from a team of scientists in Boston who have developed a way to fix holes in the heart without the need for invasive surgery. They created a ground-breaking catheter, biodegradable glue and patch that fit inside the patient's veins and are guided directly into the heart. Once there, it uses a reflective balloon and UV light to apply the patch and activate its adhesive coating.


Ultraviolet light equipped catheter | Boston Children's Hospital

There are so many more benefits that this new technology brings when compared to open heart surgery. For one, the heart doesn't need to be stopped to repair it. Also, the heart tissue doesn't need to be cut into which is an incredible improvement on old medical practices. While other devices that remain in the body may be moved out of place or fail to cover a hole as tissue continues to grow, this patch allows the heart tissue to create its own closure and then when it's no longer needed, it dissolves. "This really is a completely new platform for closing wounds or holes anywhere in the body," says Conor Walsh, founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab at SEAS.

[Image credit: Boston Children's Hospital]

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