Reduction of retrosternal and pericardial adhesions with rapidly resorbable polymer films

Naoki Okuyama, Catherine Y. Wang, Eric A. Rose, Kathleen E. Rodgers, Eli Pines, Gere S. Dizerega, Mehmet C. Oz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Background. The formation of postoperative cardiac adhesions makes a repeat sternotomy time consuming and dangerous. Many attempts have been made to solve this problem by using either drugs to inhibit fibrinolytic activity or different types of pericardial substitutes. The results have not been satisfactory. Methods. The efficacy of bioresorbable film prototypes made of polyethylene glycol (EO) and polylactic acid (LA) (EO/LA = 1.5, 2.5, and 3.0) in the prevention of adhesions after cardiac operations in canine models was tested. After desiccation and abrasion of the epicardium, a transparent bioresorbable film was placed over the heart. The pericardium was closed to allow intrapericardial adhesions (n = 32) or left open and attached to the chest wall to induce retrosternal adhesions (n = 17). Postoperative recovery was similar among the groups. Retrosternal and pericardial adhesions were evaluated at necropsy 3 weeks later by assessing area, tenacity, and density of the adhesions. Results. In the control dogs, tenacious, dense adhesions were observed. In contrast, adhesion formation was reduced at all sites covered by the films. The bioresorbable films were efficacious in the reduction of adhesion formation between epicardium and pericardium or between epicardium and sternum after cardiac operation. The EO/LA 1.5 film most effectively prevented the early adhesions. Conclusions. The bioresorbable films (EO/LA = 1.5, 2.5, and 3.0) significantly reduced adhesion formation, with EO/LA = 1.5 (Repel CV) being optimal. As the barrier was rapidly resorbed, the capsule formation induced by permanent barriers was avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-918
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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