Synthetic Heart Valves Could Improve Surgical Skills, University of British Columbia Study

The invention – synthetic heart valves, arteries, and veins made of polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel – was created by researchers at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Okanagan campus.

The polyvinyl tissue makes it possible for surgeons and medical residents to practice bypass surgery using the synthetic material as opposed to the current practice of using the arteries and veins of dead pigs or human cadavers.

"One of the major issues with using arteries from human or animal cadavers is that they break down very quickly if they are not treated with preservatives," says inventor and Assist. Prof. of Engineering Hadi Mohammadi. "This synthetic material doesn't decompose and can't be contaminated, meaning doctors can practice their technique almost anywhere.

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