Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital took inspiration from nature, as some animals have secretions that are viscous, waterproof and remain attached under extreme conditions.
The new non-toxic adhesive, described in the journal Science Translational Medicine, doesn't lose its sticking power at increased heart rates and blood pressure.
"This adhesive platform addresses all of the drawbacks of previous systems in that it works in the presence of blood and moving structures," said Pedro del Nido, chief of cardiac surgery at the Children's Hospital.
Within five seconds of UV light application, the adhesive is activated and can attach biodegradable patches to high pressure blood vessels and cardiac wall defects. The adhesive will help reduce the number of invasive surgeries required to mend such defects.
"This study demonstrated that the adhesive was strong enough to hold tissue and patches onto the heart equivalent to suturing," says the study's co-first author Nora Lang of the Children's Hospital.