The geometry of unstented and stented pig common carotid artery bypass grafts.
Caro C., Jeremy J., Watkins N., Bulbulia R., Angelini G., Smith F., Wan S., Yim A., Sherwin S., Peiró J., Papaharilaou Y., Falzon B., Giordana S., Griffiths C.
The long-term success of arterial bypass grafting with autologous saphenous veins is limited by neointimal hyperplasia (NIH), which seemingly develops preferentially at sites where hydrodynamic wall shear is low. Placement of a loose-fitting, porous stent around end-to-end, or end-to-side, autologous saphenous vein grafts on the porcine common carotid artery has been found significantly to reduce NIH, but the mechanism is unclear. In a preliminary study, we implanted autologous saphenous vein grafts bilaterally on the common carotid arteries of pigs, placing a stent around one graft and leaving the contralateral graft unstented. At sacrifice 1 month post implantation, the grafts were pressure fixed in situ and resin casts were made. Unstented graft geometry was highly irregular, with non-uniform dilatation, substantial axial lengthening, curvature, kinking, and possible long-pitch helical distortion. In contrast, stented grafts showed no major dilatation, lengthening or curvature, but there was commonly fine corrugation, occasional slight kinking or narrowing of segments, and possible long-pitch helical distortion. Axial growth of grafts against effectively tethered anastomoses could account for these changes. CFD studies are planned, using 3D MR reconstructions, on the effects of graft geometry on the flow. Abnormality of the flow could favour the development of vascular pathology, including NIH.