Ostrich arteries bring bypass hope: Japan scientists

December 7, 2012

Scientists in Japan have used ostrich blood vessels to create a viable bypass in pigs, raising hopes of easier and more effective artery transplants for heart patients.

The team found they could harvest blood vessels from the bird's long neck and use them to construct artificial pathways that are up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) long and as little as two millimetres (0.08 inches) in diametre.

Conventional substitutes—taken from dead human donors, animals or made of synthetic fibres or —need to be at least double that in order to prevent problems with clotting.

Chief researcher Tetsuji Yamaoka said the , which carry blood to the ostrich's head, are processed and lined with clot-preventing molecules on a nano scale.

" are good as they provide a stable supply of narrow and long vessels," said Yamaoka, who heads the Biomedical Engineering Department of the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Centre in Suita, western Japan.

Researchers at Yamaoka's laboratory used the new vessel in femoral artery bypass operations in five miniature pigs, bridging large arteries in their right and left thighs.

They confirmed the new vessel allowed blood to flow smoothly without the use of clot-prevention agents, Yamaoka said this week, calling it the world's first success in small-diametre, long bypass operations in animals.

There have been bypass operations using short artificial vessels in small animals such as rats, Yamaoka said.

"But vessels must be narrow and long to be used in humans," he said, adding at least 10 centimetres would be needed for operations and 20 centimetres for legs.

Surgeons could cut the new vessel to size for specific operations, making it unnecessary to take from elsewhere in the patient's body.

Yamaoka's team aims to start clinical tests in three years.

Explore further: 'Back-up system' reduces heart disease deaths

Related Stories

'Back-up system' reduces heart disease deaths

September 30, 2011

Small bypass vessels which act as a 'back-up system' for the heart's main arteries play a significant role in reducing the mortality of patients with coronary artery disease, according to new research.

Recommended for you

Flu study, on hold, yields new vaccine technology

September 2, 2015

Vaccines to protect against an avian influenza pandemic as well as seasonal flu may be mass produced more quickly and efficiently using technology described today by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the ...

We've all got a blind spot, but it can be shrunk

August 31, 2015

You've probably never noticed, but the human eye includes an unavoidable blind spot. That's because the optic nerve that sends visual signals to the brain must pass through the retina, which creates a hole in that light-sensitive ...

Biologists identify mechanisms of embryonic wound repair

August 31, 2015

It's like something out of a science-fiction movie - time-lapse photography showing how wounds in embryos of fruit flies heal themselves. The images are not only real; they shed light on ways to improve wound recovery in ...

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.