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The cardiac surgeons at St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute offer patients a remarkable therapy using CorMatrix ECM®, a unique material used as a patch to repair heart tissue in selected heart surgical procedures. This special patch material is made of real tissue and promotes the regeneration of your own cells for surgical wound healing. At St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute, our heart specialists are trained in the latest technology and treatment options.
CorMatrix ECM (extracellular matrix, the part of your tissue that provides support to cells) is natural material that is retrieved from the thin lining of the small intestine of a pig. This lining is then processed to remove all of the pig cells, leaving only a complex weave of collagen. Collagen is a protein, consisting of amino acids. It is a tough, strong structure found all over the body, especially in the flesh and connective tissue. Collagen is important for skin elasticity.
After sterilization and testing, CorMatrix ECM becomes an exceptionally strong, pliable, thin sheet of collagen. Surgeons can now stitch the material onto your heart and tissues to stimulate healing and re-growth. CorMatrix ECM acts as a sort of scaffolding. Eventually, your own cells grow to cover the collagen matrix. The result is that you achieve a permanent heart repair, using your own tissue. This regenerative healing is unique to CorMatrix ECM.
Traditional surgical patches, which include synthetic materials, are not able to promote the regeneration of your own tissue. Because these synthetic materials are foreign to the human body, they may also cause inflammation. CorMatrix ECM is natural tissue, so it stimulates the body to grow new, functional cardiovascular tissue within your own body.
Extracellular matrix is a normal component of living tissue. Patients have not reported any side effects attributable to CorMatrix ECM. An estimated 500,000 patients worldwide have received a manufactured extracellular matrix device, for repairs in all areas of the body. Surgeons have implanted nearly 45,000 CorMatrix ECM implants since the product became available for cardiovascular use in 2006.