It may not have been good news for Superman but Kryptonite is proving a success with cardiac patients undergoing open-heart surgeries.
Open-heart surgery normally involves cutting through the breastplate to allow access to the heart. The conventional method, at the end of the surgery, is to use steel wire to seal the bone back together.
Canadian researchers are now using a new method of bonding the bone back together using bone cement made from the castor bean plant. The glue, known as KryptoniteTM, is ten times stronger than the steel wire currently in use. It acts like natural bone and allows for new bone to grow.
The procedure was developed by Dr. Paul Fedak, a cardiac surgeon at Foothills Hospital Medical Centre, Calgary, Canada. So far, Dr. Fedak has used KryptoniteTM on 20 patients. After one-year follow ups there were no reported side-effects.
Patients after open-heart procedures often experience a considerable amount of pain which not only increases their stay in the hospital but also has a detrimental effect on their healing. This method has resulted in much faster recovery times, cutting the eight week recovery time in half. Patients have reported significantly less pain, and therefore less pain medications, allowing for a speedier recover.
The use of Kryptonite has also been responsible for the decline in complications, such as wound infections or bone separation.
The Kryptonite itself is applied to the tips of the bones after the surgery which takes approximately five minutes and they begin to bond within minutes. The cement-like adhesive is then hard within hours.
Bone cement was originally developed for use on patients with orthopedic and spinal procedure but Dr. Fedak hopes that using Kryptonite on breastbone will become standard practice.
Dr. Fedak has presented his findings to colleagues and trained surgeons in Montreal, Italy and Germany, all of whom are now using the procedure.
“Everyone knows that broken bones need a cast to heal properly,” said Fedak. “But we can’t put a cast around your whole chest after surgery or you couldn’t breathe, so we needed another solution,” Fedak continued.
“We can now heal the breastbone in hours instead of weeks after open-heart surgery. Patients can make a full recovery after surgery and get back to full physical activities in days instead of months,” said Fedak.
More than 500 patients undergoing open-heart surgeries in the next two years will be treated with Kryptonite during the STICK trial (STernal Innovative Closure with Kryptonite.)