Congestive heart failure accounts for at least 287,000 deaths a year in the United States. At least 5 million people have some form of heart failure with 1.4 million of them being under the age of 60. Nearly 550,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed every year. Generally, treatment is inserting stents, bypass surgery strict diets and drugs. Now, doctors are hoping a new experimental ‘patch’ will be a treatment that will save many lives.
When you hear the term ‘patch’ used in medical treatment terms, we generally think of a transdermal patch that adheres to the skin. These are used for things like smoking addiction, pain relief, hormonal issues including birth control, ADHD, dementia, delivering nitroglycerin to heart patients and a growing number of other conditions.
Transdermal patches are found to be more accurate in delivering a prescribed medication at a specific dosage of an extended period of time, than capsules and injections.
There are two basic forms of transdermal patches. Both types have thin reservoirs of medication separated by a thin membrane or membranes. In one type of patch, the membrane is porous, allowing a specified amount of the medication/drug to be absorbed through the skin. The other type of patch has a series of layers of medication and membranes. The first membrane slowly dissolves due to the beat of the person’s body, thus releasing some of the medication. Once that layer of medication has been absorbed, the next membrane layer dissolves and so on, until the patch has exhausted all of its medication.
Special note on this news of an experimental heart patch is that it uses ADULT stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. The adult stem cells are taken from the patient so that grafting the patch directly on the heart muscle will not result in any rejection or the need to the patient to take rejection drugs.