Small Diameter Vascular Grafts: Replacement Strategies, Maturation Techniques and Challenges

Mattix, Brandon; Poole, Trey; Casco, Megan; Uvarov, Olga; Visconti, Richard P.; Simionescu, Dan; Alexis, Frank
March 2013
Journal of Tissue Science & Engineering;2013, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Patients with cardiovascular diseases typically require organ transplantation to either repair or replace damaged vascular tissue, with an estimated 7.6 million cardiovascular operations and procedures performed during 2010 in the U. S. alone. Currently, small diameter vascular tissue replacements (less than 6 mm) fail due to thrombus formation, compliance mismatch, and long-term patency issues, with some commercial solutions demonstrating patency rates as low as 18% at 24 months. Though various approaches, including autografts, allografts, xenografts, tissue engineered grafts and polymeric grafts have been utilized, their use as small diameter vascular replacements is limited by mechanical mismatch, poor tissue integration, and prolonged fabrication. Additionally, the formation of a vascular network in engineered tissues has proven a critical hurdle for use in the tissue engineering of whole organs. The authors detail their investigation of the current state of vascular replacement solutions with a focus on in vitro small diameter vascular graft fabrication and maturation, as well as the development of branched vascular networks in engineered tissues.


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