Electromechanical cardioplasty using a wrapped elasto-conductive epicardial mesh

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Abstract

Heart failure remains a major public health concern with a 5-year mortality rate higher than that of most cancers. Myocardial disease in heart failure is frequently accompanied by impairment of the specialized electrical conduction system and myocardium. We introduce an epicardial mesh made of electrically conductive and mechanically elastic material, to resemble the innate cardiac tissue and confer cardiac conduction system function, to enable electromechanical cardioplasty. Our epicardium-like substrate mechanically integrated with the heart and acted as a structural element of cardiac chambers. The epicardial device was designed with elastic properties nearly identical to the epicardial tissue itself and was able to detect electrical signals reliably on the moving rat heart without impeding diastolic function 8 weeks after induced myocardial infarction. Synchronized electrical stimulation over the ventricles by the epicardial mesh with the high conductivity of 11,210 S/cm shortened total ventricular activation time, reduced inherent wall stress, and improved several measures of systolic function including increases of 51% in fractional shortening, ~90% in radial strain, and 42% in contractility. The epicardial mesh was also capable of delivering an electrical shock to terminate a ventricular tachyarrhythmia in rodents. Electromechanical cardioplasty using an epicardial mesh is a new pathway toward reconstruction of the cardiac tissue and its specialized functions.

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