The European Commission has launched Heart-e-Gel project to develop medical devices for the treatment of conditions such as varicose veins and abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA).

The new devices will be based on Electro Active Polymers (EAPs), which can change size and shape when electrically activated, and thus will be capable of closing, filling, and sealing, vessels and cavities.

In cases where external vessel surgery is required, these devices can facilitate alternative and less invasive procedures.

In addition, these devices can be used in combination with stents and endografts, to achieve effective and longer lasting treatments.

The three-year research project, which has been funded under the FP7 Specific Programme, will involve leading material and microelectronics scientists, surgeons and medical device companies in collaboration with European partners.

The project has been initiated in September 2010, and will be coordinated by the Tyndall National Institute and University College Cork.