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Resorbable Pacing Leads Can Significantly Reduce Risk After Cardiac Surgery

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 04 Nov 2022
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Image: After the postoperative monitoring period, the resorbable pacing leads slowly degrade in the body (Photo courtesy of Fraunhofer Society)
Image: After the postoperative monitoring period, the resorbable pacing leads slowly degrade in the body (Photo courtesy of Fraunhofer Society)

Postoperative cardiac arrhythmias are common after cardiac surgery. They are routinely treated with external pacemakers and temporary pacing leads that are prophylactically implanted at the time of surgery. This is inherently associated with several risks: Manually extracting modern stainless steel pacing leads can result in complications as the wires can, in some cases, resist extraction due to tissue in-growth. However, if the leads are cut and left in the body, there is the risk of infection and migration; in the case of the latter, revision surgery may be required. Now, a team of researchers is developing resorbable pacing leads that can significantly reduce risk factors after cardiac surgery.

In the project “Resorbable Molybdenum Temporary Cardiac Electrodes,” or “ReMoTe CarE” for short, researchers from the Fraunhofer Society (Munich, Germany) are investigating a completely new approach: In the future, bioresorbable leads that can be left in the body and then disappear by resorption after a defined period are expected to replace conventional leads. This approach is based on the use of the metal molybdenum (Mo), which offers several advantages, such as the ability to degrade uniformly in the body, biocompatibility, and high mechanical strength and electrical conductivity. For use in bioresorbable pacing leads, it is coated with resorbable biopolymers to electrically insulate the surrounding tissue.

The researchers are testing and optimizing the mechanical, electrical and degradation properties of the materials used. The demonstrators - strands of fine metal wires that are coated with biopolymers - will be tested in preclinical studies. The objective is to avoid the complications associated with non-resorbable pacing leads. This would not only provide great relief to patients but also significantly relieve the burden on both healthcare professionals and the healthcare system.

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