A New Era of Cardiovascular Treatment
A New Era of Cardiovascular Treatment
Cardiovascular diseases are considered as the number one causes of death worldwide. A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that in the year 2005 17 million people globally died from cardiovascular diseases, this accounted for 30% of the global deaths in the same year. Unfortunately, in developed and developing countries alike, cardiovascular diseases are projected to remain the leading cause of death even in the years to come necessitating the urgent need for developing of effective prevention and treatment of heart-related illnesses (Yacoub&Nerem 2007). This urgency has led to the development of the modern era of bioengineering technology for cardiovascular disease treatment.
The cardiovascular system is part of a larger circulation system which is made up of the heart and blood vessels that include, arteries, veins and capillaries. The cardiovascular system is like an atomic pump, where the heart pumps blood rich in oxygen and nutrients through the blood vessels to every tissue and organ that make up the human body (Jones & Bartlett). Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular disease which occurs when plaque begins to build up in the lining and inner layers of the heart arteries causing them to harden and narrow. This prevents the flow of blood rich in oxygen to be circulated to other parts of the body leading to grave problems such as heart attack and even death (Gibbons 2013).
The shift from the use of traditional health care methods to technology-based health care methods has provided a means through which patients suffering from Atherosclerosis may be treated. One of the biomedical technology is the development of ‘in vitro’ models such as google glass. Google glass is used in observing the physical forces associated with the human body’s hemodynamic environment and link that exists between the vascular endothelium cell behaviours and cellular processes and the initiation of atherogenesis which is the initial stage of atherosclerosis (Nerem 2013).
Another biomedical technology encompasses heart valve engineering, whereas initial engineering technology was largely based on the development of improved prosthetics to replace defective prosthetics, research indicates that optimizing the fluid mechanical characteristics is key to improved heart valve implants (Nerem 2013). This technology allows for the effective replacement of diseased valves to ensure that blood to and from the heart flow in the right direction as they should.
Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine is yet another biomedical engineering technology that is being used to save lives of people who have suffered heart failure due to atherosclerosis disease. The idea of this technology is to fabricate replacement tissues and organs outside of the body using cells and scaffolds. These fabricated tissues and organs are later implanted into the patient’s body to improve the functioning of the heart usually after the patient has suffered a heart attack or otheratherosclerosis related problems that damage the functioning of the heart vessels (Nerem 2013). These regenerative medicines have in the recent years been put in the spotlight as new, improved and effective treatment for severe heart failure (Sekine et al. 2016).
Considering many people who are suffering the consequences of heart failure due to atherosclerosis related problems are also experiencing a chronic shortage of heart donors, cardiac tissue engineering offers an alternative treatment solution to the problem (Birla et al. 2005). A three-dimensional tissue engineering construct may be used to develop regenerated tissues to replace a diseased heart valve or a scarred myocardium which is necessary for treatment of patients that have suffered coronary artery disease which leads to a heart attack as a result of atherosclerosis.
In the engineering of tissues, it has been researched that engineering of cells outside of the body in controlled incubation environments plays an important role in the regenerative process of cardiac tissues, as such an in vitro method is used in the manipulation of cells before the cells being incorporated into the in vivo environment. One tissue engineering technology is known as a ‘cell sheet engineering’ where temperature sensitive surfaces and dishes are used to construct cardiac tissues after which these tissues are transplanted into the in vivo environment in a bid to repair the function of the heart (Sekina et al. 2016).
Clinical trials indicate that after tissue engineered fabricated heart tissues were transplanted into a host heart, they survived and formed joints and after a while, a large number of blood vessels are observed within the implanted graft (Haraguchi et al. 2012). This is an indication that, regeneration of cells is an important means through which cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis can be treated and cured.
Biomedical engineering technology can be regarded as the future of the world of cardiovascular health. First and foremost, in a world where heart disease is the leading cause of death, new technology has played an imperative role in improving transplantation techniques. For instance, the in vitro cell sheet-based tissue engineering that has allowed the replacement of diseased valves with new implant valves. This new era of technology has caused scientists and physicians to proposed that tissue-engineered heart valves (TEHV) as the most promising solution there is to replace diseased heart valves (Garcia et al. 2015). Considering many prosthetic heart valves are associated with blood clotting, infections and structural deterioration TEHV provides an effective and efficient solution to heart valve therapy and mitigate the challenges that may be encountered when an individual’s heart valve is replaced.
Secondly, thanks to biomedical technology the use of cell-based therapy for myocardial repair has made it possible for diseases that reduce blood flow to the cardiac muscle to be treated. If an individual suffers a heart attack, the adult cardiomyocytes can proliferate and divide themselves into the human heart. This makes it unable for them to independently regenerate the heart after a heart attack necessitating the need for administration of stem cells which not only have the ability to renew themselves but are also multipotent and as such can differentiate and proliferate themselves into other cells cardiomyocytes included. (Konoplyannikov et al 2016).
In conclusion, it is right to posit that in a world that has suffered in the hands of cardiovascular diseases, necessitating the urgency for developing effective means though which heart diseases can be prevented and treated.in this regard, biomedical technology offers a realistic treatment approach to patients with cardiovascular diseases. Through in vitro models of implementation and research of effective cell sources and cell-based regenerative therapies, this technology makes it possible for cardiovascular patients to be treated and cured without having to wait a long time for an organ donor.
Gibbons. G.H., (2013). What Is Atherosclerosis? National Institute of Health. Accessed on 2nd Dec 2017. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atherosclerosis
Haraguchi, Y., Shimizu, T., Yamato, M., & Okano, T. (2012). Concise Review: Cell Therapy and Tissue Engineering for Cardiovascular Disease. Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 1(2), 136–141. http://doi.org/10.5966/sctm.2012-0030
Konoplyannikov, M., Kalsin, V., Averyanov. A.&Troitsky, A. (2016). Stem Cell Therapy of Ischemic Heart Disease. J. Biomedical Science and Engineering, 9, 191-215.
Nerem, R. M. (2013). Bioengineering and the cardiovascular system. Global Cardiology Science & Practice, 2013(1), 29–36. http://doi.org/10.5339/gcsp.2013.5
Sanz-Garcia, A., Oliver-De-La-Cruz, J., Mirabet, V., Gandía, C., Villagrasa, A., Sodupe, E., & Escobedo-Lucea, C. (2015). Heart valve tissue engineering: how far is the bedside from the bench?. Expert reviews in molecular medicine, 17.
Sekine, H., Shimizu, T., & Okano, T. (2016). Cell Sheet Tissue Engineering for Heart Failure. In Etiology and Morphogenesis of Congenital Heart Disease (pp. 19-24). Springer Japan.
Yacoub, M., &Nerem, R. (2007). Introduction. Bioengineering the heart. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362(1484), 1253–1255. http://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2007.2112