Continuing investigations of vascular graft materials suggest that unacceptable graft complications continue and that the ideal graft material has not yet been found. We have developed and tested a biologic vascular graft material, small intestine submucosa (SIS), in normal dogs. This material, when used as an autograft, allograft, or xenograft has demonstrated biocompatibility and high patency rates in aorta, carotid and femoral arteries, and superior vena cava locations. The grafts are completely endothelialized at 28 days post-implantation. At 90 days, the grafts are histologically similar to normal arteries and veins and contain a smooth muscle media and a dense fibrous connective tissue adventita. Follow-up periods of up to 5 years found no evidence of infection, intimal hyperplasia, or aneurysmal dilation. One infection-challenge study suggested that SIS may be infection resistant, possibly because of early capillary penetration of the SIS (2 to 4 days after implantation) and delivery of body defenses to the local site. We conclude that SIS is a suitable blood interface material and is worthy of continued investigation. It may serve as a structural framework for the application of tissue engineering technologies in the development of the elusive ideal vascular graft material.
- Keywords vascular graft
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