Oddný Björgvinsdóttir, Bergþóra Sigríður Snorradóttir, Þórarinn Guðjónsson
Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death globally and will continue to rise in the coming years. Amongst these, severe heart failure with a prevalence of 1-2% is considered to be highly critical. Specially as heart transplants, which are the only curative solution, are limited in number. An alternative option is the use of a ventricular assist device (VAD), either to bridge the time till transplantation or as a destination therapy for people that are not eligible for transplant. While existing devices are able to support the blood circulation, they have serious side effects arising due to the contact of blood with artificial materials. This activates the blood coagulation cascade and leads to thrombus formation. Permanent and extensive medicinal anti-coagulation and platelet inhibition treatment is hence needed, but leads to increased risks of bleeding. This project aims at developing fully hemocompatible biomimetic membrane for implementation into a VAD that excludes the major complications seen with VADs currently on the market. The method here is implementing anti-inflammatory drugs into a synthetic vascular basement membrane that is biomimetic in structure and mechanical properties, and has a bioadhesive for cellular attachment. The results demonstrate the potential of this synthetic vascular basement membrane for blood contacting medical devices.