Stanford scientists have filed a patent application for a heart corset designed to limit the detrimental cardiac enlargement that often accompanies a heart failure.
A protective band around the heart to reinforce its walls and prevent it from becoming enlarged could be the answer, say Bilal Shafi and colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, US.
They suggest building up the walls with two layers of polymer. The first is made of polyethylene glycol to provide strength, and the second is a layer of collagen that provides elasticity and biocompatibility. The key to the technique is the ability to deliver the polymer mix to the heart in the form of a powder or gel. It can then be cured in place by UV light or heat to form a thin, strong film.