Medical devices are used widely in nearly all aspects of medicine, including artificial hearts, vascular stents, vascular grafts, heart valves, pacemakers, catheters, cardiopulmonary bypass circuits and hemodialysis. However, they cause many side effects due to the poor compatibility of the materials used to make these devices, such as blood clots (thrombosis) and microbe adhesion (biofouling). Thrombosis of medical devices is currently managed with medication that causes additional complications, such as bleeding from antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs. Biofouling is treated with antibiotics; however, antibiotics cannot always penetrate the biofilm and the overuse of antibiotics is leading to antibiotic resistant pathogens. Increased understanding of biointerface interactions and methodology to assess materials could lead to the development of new, more compatible materials and devices to reduce the use of drugs and risks for patients.
Every day, 23 Australians die from a heart attack. Every year, roughly 55,000 suffer a life-threatening cardiovascular emergency. Like so many, Greg Bridgman never thought it would happen to him.
Dr Anna Waterhouse invited to speak at Joint Annual Scientific Meeting in Hobart.