Our goal is, through biofunctionalization, to prevent the infections associated with cardiovascular implants, especially heart valve prostheses, and to improve the diagnosis and treatment of these life-threatening complications. Because of a demographically influenced increase in the demand for cardiovascular implants, our research is of great political and economic importance.
Our pioneering work is application-oriented and will lay the foundations for future innovations in the field of implant technology and infectiology.
Cardiovascular implants – quality of life into old age
Diseases of the heart are among the most common in the population and represent a serious health risk. The use of cardiovascular implants can significantly contribute to the success of treatment and to an improvement in the quality of life of patients.
Substantial progress in the field of cardiology has been achieved in the form of the breakthrough innovation transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). For the first time, elderly and multimorbid patients can be treated with a minimally invasive replacement of the defective heart valve.
Implant infections - a life-threatening complication
The surface of cardiovascular implants is highly susceptible to bacterial colonization, which in turn can lead to serious infections. In TAVI patients, the incidence of infectious endocarditis is already at 3%. Other interventions such as stent implantations in peripheral vessels or heart pacemaker implantations cause similar problems.
When bacteria enter the blood stream, they can colonize implant surfaces and form biofilms which are naturally highly resistant to treatment with antibiotics. Several bacteria have even developed antibiotic resistance, e.g. methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).