The medical-version of Super Glue, invented by the late Harry Coover ’41, P’66, was recently used to stop the growth of a tumor in patient Jamie Arliss’ heart in a procedure conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in Rochester, N.Y. An article in the Daily Mail describes the procedure, the first of its kind in the world. Medical Super Glue has been used in neurosurgery previously, but not in cardiac cases.
“Mrs Arliss has now made a complete recovery and is expected to live a normal life. The case is being written up for medical journals around the world,” the article notes.
It quotes her, “I’m just so glad it has worked. I had to put my faith in the doctors as I knew it was my only chance. I’m back at work now and I feel great. And I can see my daughter grow up.”
Coover’s invention of Super Glue made a permanent impact on American society, with industrial, household and medical uses. He was the first to recognize and patent cyanoacrylates as human tissue adhesives, used in many sutureless surgeries such as the rejoining of veins, arteries, and intestines, ophthalmic surgeries, dental surgeries, uncontrollable bleeding, and the repair of soft organs. Since the 1970s, tissue adhesives have been used for a variety of surgical applications including middle ear surgery, bone and cartilage grafts, repair of cerebrospinal fluid leaks, and skin closure.
Coover received his B.S. in science in 1941 before earning his M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. He worked for Eastman Kodak for 40 years, during which time he wrote 460 patents and 60 papers.
The full article about the surgery is below.
Nurse with deadly golf ball-sized heart tumour saved after doctors fill it in with SUPERGLUE
Lucy Laing • April 18, 2011
This is the woman whose life has been saved in a world first case – by doctors filling her heart with Superglue.
When doctors discovered a rare tumour in Jamie Arliss’s heart they thought there was nothing that could be done to save her.
There is no-one alive in the world with such a tumour – and they thought the mother of one was doomed.
But then cardiologist Christopher Cove came up with a radical idea to save her.
He filled the golf-ball sized tumour in her heart with superglue – which amazingly has stopped the tumour growing and saved her life.
It is the only case of its kind ever performed in the world – and now her case is being recorded in medical journals around the world.
Dr. Cove, from the University of Rochester Medical Centre, USA, where the world-first operation took place, said: ‘There are no patients in the world alive with this type of tumour.
‘Surgeons had operated to try and remove the tumour but it was impossible so there was nothing that could be done to save her.
‘I decided to try the medical superglue to fill the tumour as a last attempt to save her life. We had no idea whether it would work, but it was her only option.
She and other members of staff were being trained to use an ECG heart machine, and as a demonstration she was wired up to the machine.
It showed an abnormality and tests showed that she had the rare tumour growing in the left ventricle cavity of her heart.
Mrs Arliss said: ‘I was so scared when I was diagnosed with the tumour. They told me it was incredibly rare and I thought I was going to die and leave my daughter without a mother.
‘I had been very tired and out of breath for a while but I was young and working hard in my job and I thought it was because of that.’
Doctors told Mrs Arliss that she had been born with the tumour and it had carried on growing. It was then the size of a golf ball and had also started to grow on the outside of her heart too.
Dr Cove said: ‘The only recorded cases of such heart tumours in patients are in patients who have already died.
‘It is a difficult tumour to diagnose and very rare, and there are no recorded cases of anyone alive in the world with this type of tumour.
‘She went into the operating theatre, but the surgeons who carried out the operation couldn’t remove the tumour and said there was nothing that could be done to save her.
‘She could have been listed for a heart transplant, but a donor wouldn’t have come available in time. It was a dire situation for her as we didn’t know what we could do for her.’
Then in a stroke of luck, a neurosurgeon came to work in Dr Cove’s office, as his own office was having work done to it. And Mr Cove observed some work he was doing using a medical form of superglue to mend blood vessels in the brain.
He said: ‘I saw the superglue and wondered if it would be possible to put it into the tumour and stop it growing.
‘I spoke with the neurosurgeon who was hesitant as it had never been done before, but we decided that it would be worth a try.’
Mrs Arliss agreed to the operation and the two doctors carried out the operation. They inserted a thin catheter tubing into her heart and into the tumour, and poured four tubes of the medical superglue into the tumour.
Dr Cove said: ‘We had previously tried to cut off the blood supply to the tumour, but it had found another blood supply source and had carried on growing.
‘It was desperation, but this mass of glue has really worked. It has stopped it growing and now it is completely inert. Normally in a brain operation half a tube of this glue is used, but we used four tubes.’
Mrs Arliss has now made a complete recovery and is expected to live a normal life. The case is being written up for medical journals around the world.
She said: ‘I’m just so glad it has worked. I had to put my faith in the doctors as I knew it was my only chance. I’m back at work now and I feel great. And I can see my daughter grow up.’