A theoretical and experimental model to predict biaxial failure of tissue engineered blood vessels
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The development of small diameter tissue engineered blood vessels (TEBVs) with low thrombogenicity, low immunogenicity, suitable mechanical properties, and a capacity to remodel to their environment could significantly advance the treatment of coronary and peripheral artery disease. Despite significant advances in the field of tissue engineering, autologous vessels are still primarily utilized as grafts during bypass surgeries. However, undamaged autologous tissue may not always be available due to disease or prior surgery. TEBVs lack long-term efficacy due to a variety of types of failures including aneurysmal dilations, thrombosis, and rupture; the mechanisms of these failures are not well understood. In vitro mechanical testing may help the understanding of these failure mechanisms. The typical mechanical tests lack standardized methodologies; thus, results vary widely. The overall goal of this study is to develop novel experimental and mathematical models to study the mechanical properties and failure mechanisms of TEBVs. Our results suggest that burst pressure tests, the current standard, are not sufficient to assess a TEBVs’ suitability as a coronary substitute; creep and/or cyclic loading tests are also required. Results from this model can help identify the most insightful experiments and quantities to be measured – ultimately reducing the overall number of experimental iterations. Improving the testing and characterization of TEBVs is critically important in decreasing the time necessary to validate the mechanical and functional responses of TEBVs over time, thus quickly moving TEBVs from the benchtop to the patient.