Prosthetic Vein Valve: Delivery and In Vitro Evaluation
Farrell, Laura-Lee Amelia Catherine
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Venous disease will affect 1-3% of the western world at some point in their lives, yet there are few effective treatments for the venous system . One such disease is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a painful and debilitating illness that affects the superficial and deep vein valves of the legs. When the valves become incompetent they allow reflux and subsequent pooling of blood. Current clinical therapies are only moderately; and therefore, the need for a better solution remains. Prosthetic venous valves were constructed from a novel hydrogel biomaterial patented by Georgia Tech. The valves had flexible cusps similar to normal, anatomic venous valves. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the thrombotic potential of the GT venous valve in an in vitro study and to design a percutaneous delivery system. In vitro thrombosis model provides an appropriate intermediate step between valve development and in vivo analysis, which is necessary to determine the biocompatibility of the prosthetic device. The flow system was modified from a one-pass, flow-through thrombosis assay using whole blood  to mimic pulsatile physiologic conditions. Cessation of flow indicated thrombotic obstruction. Histological analysis was performed using H and E staining and Carstairs stain (specific for platelets). A group of valves were lined with Dacron to confirm the thrombotic potential of the system. All Dacron valves were occluded by thrombus connecting the polymer fibers with adherent platelets. Whole blood perfused through the GT prosthetic valves exhibited no thrombosis or platelet adherence. All GT valves were patent and competent after blood perfusion. H and E staining revealed no thrombus deposition on the GT vein valves. A percutaneous delivery system was designed after evaluating the GT valves for their compressibility and plastic deformation over time. Appropriate stents, catheters and sheaths were selected. As designed, this system will be utilized in an ovine trial of the valve. Due to the low in vitro thrombotic potential and strong history of PVA as a medical implant material, positive trial results are expected. With successful animal and human trials this valve can provide a potential intervention for the 7 million people suffering from CVI.