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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

June 6, 2006
CONTACT: Phil Sneiderman

Students' Device May Improve
Chest Closure after Heart Surgery

Additional Images

new tool to 
close the chest after heart surgery
Photo C: Here are four views of the tool devised by Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering students as part of a new system to close the chest after heart surgery. The long extension piece is used to guide a polymer cable tie between and under the ribs so that a surgeon can use it to pull together pieces of the severed sternum.

stapler-shaped tool
Photo D: After the cable tie is looped through the ribs, one end is reinserted in the tool. When the handles are squeezed, it operates like a ratchet to pull pieces of the breastbone firmly together so they can heal.

hand on skeleton
Photo E: The student inventors say their cable ties should reduce the risk of injuries that are sometimes caused by the steel wires currently used to close the chest after heart surgery. They recommend the use of a biocompatible polymer material that dissolves harmlessly in the body.

Chris Weier
Photo F: Chris Weier
Photo by Will Kirk

Neha Malhotra
Photo G: Neha Malhotra
Photo by Will Kirk

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