Children with complete heart block currently receive
pacemakers, but the devices often fail over time,
necessitating repeat operations. In the July issue of the American Journal of Pathology, Doug Cowan, PhD, and
colleagues at Children's report using tissue-engineering methods to create electrically conductive heart tissue that could
potentially substitute for a pacemaker. Implanted in rats' hearts, the tissue established electrical conduction pathways nearly a third of the time, remaining functional through the animals' lifespan. Dr. Cowan's team is now working in a large animal model that more closely simulates pediatric heart block.