An in vitro methodology for evaluating the mechanical properties of aortic vascular prostheses

Virginio Quaglini, Tomaso Villa, Francesco Migliavacca, Michele Carmo, Piergiorgio Settembrini, Roberto Contro, Riccardo Pietrabissa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The main problem in the replacement of pathological segments of the aorta with vascular prostheses consists of matching the fluid admittance of the host artery and the graft. This mismatch results from the different compliance between natural and prosthetic vessels and from the plastic dilatation of the prosthesis diameter that occurs after implantation. An experimental procedure was set up for evaluating the mechanical properties of aortic vascular prostheses. An MTS 858 MiniBionix testing machine was equipped with a purposely designed testing apparatus, which allows loading a ring-shaped prosthesis specimen with forces that can be related easily to the trans-mural pressure acting on the prostheses in vivo. The reference pressure waveforms are simulated from a lumped parameter model of the cardiovascular system. Preliminary tests on 3 different (woven, warp knitted, and carbon-coated warp knitted fabric) aortic prostheses point out a good reproducibility of the results. The fabric strongly affects the circumferential elasticity and the dimensional stability of the graft. Simulation of hypertension promotes larger diameter dilatation and reduction in compliance. Agreement between in vitro and clinical diameter measurements has been assessed for 8 prosthesis samples and found to be adequate. This method is thus a potentially useful means for preclinical evaluation of compliance of vascular prostheses for the purpose of matching to native vessels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-564
Number of pages10
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Compliance
  • Diameter dilatation
  • Fluid admittance mismatch
  • In vitro tests
  • Vascular prostheses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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