Elastic patches for kids with heart disease available next month in Japan

A Japanese university and textile makers have jointly developed an expandable cardiac patch for children with congenital heart disease. The new products will be available at medical institutions in Japan from June.

Children who have surgery to close holes in their hearts and cardiac blood vessels with patches need operations to replace them with new ones as their bodies get bigger.

The new patch stretches to accommodate children's growth, eliminating the need for replacement surgery.

The patch is expected to significantly reduce the burden on pediatric patients.

It was developed by Osaka Medical and Pharmaceutical University, along with textile makers in Osaka and Fukui prefectures.

Professor Nemoto Shintaro of the university spoke to reporters in Tokyo on Monday. He said he hopes it will end children's replacement surgeries and become a competitive product in the global market.

Conventional patches made of synthetic resin and other materials have no elasticity. Children have needed to have replacement surgery two years after their previous ones at the earliest.

The new patch is made of threads woven into mesh so that it expands about twice as large, and the material can be integrated into body tissues, making replacement surgery in principle unnecessary.

The developers say they will conduct a follow-up survey of patients who undergo surgeries using their patches for five years to confirm the products' safety.

They also expressed hope to have the patches approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, aiming to expand sales around the world.