ePTFE for complex heart valve reconstruction
Expanded polytetrafluoro ethylene (ePTFE) is an inert material that is widely used in cardiovascular surgical applications owing to its performance and ease of use. It is a trilayered polymer that is microporous in the middle layer and encapsulated by two fibrillar layers. Its chemical composition promotes low thrombogenecity, lower rates of restenosis and inflammation. Despite its beneficial properties, use of ePTFE for cardiac surgical applications has not been fully explored. Especially in children requiring heart valve replacement, pericardial bio prostheses are not an option, and thus polymeric valves may have a role. In our laboratory, we are exploring new techniques and designs to use standalone ePTFE or ePTFE integrated into other materials for heart valve repair and replacement, and potentially for other cardiac surgical applications.
Efficacy of infarct augmentation with devitalized materials
A left ventricular myocardium that is effected by a transmural myocardial infarction often undergoes rapid thinning and forms an aneurysm, which not only poses a risk of rupture but also imposes a mechanical disadvantage on the pump function. It is hypothesized that reinforcing the infarcted region with biomaterials can reduce the risk of aneurysm formation, and a suitable material may be able to revitalize this region. We are interested in developing and using biomaterials for this purpose, which not only provide mechanical support, but also act as a vehicle for delivery of other therapeutic agents into this region. We are currently pursuing this area in partnership with industry.