Heart and vascular surgeons at Franciscan Health are able to use extracellular matrix (ECM) to repair and reconstruct the heart and its valves. ECM is innovative tissue technology that helps the heart repair itself and brings higher success rates to patients.
Surgeons at Franciscan Health in Indianapolis were the first to apply Extracellular Matrix (ECM) – a unique bioscaffold that harnesses the body’s ability to repair its own tissues – to repair and reconstruct the tissues of the human heart.
First introduced in 2006, this remarkable bio-material is used by our cardiovascular surgeons to augment and repair the heart and its valves. Derived from the small intestine of a pig, the ECM is processed in a way that removes all cells. Only the complex structural matrix, made of collagen, remains. The ECM comes as an exceptionally strong, but very pliable and thin, sheet. Once implanted, the ECM harnesses the body’s innate ability to repair and repopulate damaged cardiovascular tissue, enabling patients to heal naturally. The body is allowed to heal with its own cells, avoiding any rejection.
Once the ECM is surgically implanted in the heart, the patient’s own cells migrate and integrate, as part of the body’s innate wound-healing mechanisms to restore tissue at the site of implantation. During the tissue repair process, the matrix provides a framework for the patient’s own cells to organize.
If your physician has told you that you need heart surgery, you are not alone. According to the American Heart Association, one in three Americans have some form of heart disease. Advances in open-heart and vascular surgery continue to improve outcomes for patients with weak or damaged hearts and more recently, new advances in cardiac tissue repair devices are helping physicians repair and regrow healthy heart tissue. Previously, surgeons have used synthetic or other permanent patches to repair tissue defects, but a new product is allowing repairs to damaged tissue without leaving synthetic or foreign materials in the patient’s body.
The cells in our bodies can only grow and multiply if they have some type of structure to which they can attach. This structural “bio-scaffold” within our bodies supports and encourages cell growth, which ultimately forms different types of tissue.
Once the ECM is surgically implanted, the patient’s own cells migrate and integrate, as part of the body’s innate wound-healing mechanisms to restore tissue at the site of implantation. During the tissue repair process, the matrix provides a framework for the patient’s own cells to attach and organize. The cells produce new matrix, replacing the implanted patch which is resorbed over time. This leaves remodeled, functional tissue instead of scar tissue or injured tissue.
Extracellular matrix is a normal component of living tissue. No side effects attributable to extracellular matrix have been reported.
An estimated 500,000 patients worldwide have been implanted with a manufactured extracellular matrix device for repairs done in all areas of the body. Nearly 20,000 CorMatrix ECM implants have been completed since the first product became commercially available for cardiovascular use in 2006.