New directions in the use of carbon as vascular graft material

G. B. Ratto, R. Di Primio, P. Romano, M. Truini, A. Badini, D. Zaccheo, G. Motta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbon has been used to improve the thromboresistance of synthetic vascular prostheses, and for this purpose, dacron grafts have been coated with carbon. Owing to the contradictory results reported in the literature, a new kind of vascular conduit, exclusively textured from carbon fibers, has been developed. The present research study was undertaken to compare carbon and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (e-PTFE) grafts when used as vascular substitutes. Fifty-six experimental animals were divided into four equal groups and underwent substitution of segments of infrarenal aorta or inferior vena cava (IVC), through use of either carbon or e-PTFE grafts. Prosthetic segments were removed fifteen seconds, or sixty minutes, or seven, fifteen, thirty, sixty, or one hundred twenty days after implantation. Specimens were examined by light and scanning electron microscopy. Cumulative patency rates, calculated by the life-table method at 120 days after surgery, were 72% for aortic carbon grafts, 41% for aortic e-PTFE grafts, and 0% for both carbon and e-PTFE grafts implanted on the IVC. Carbon conduits performed significantly better than e-PTFE conduits when used as small-caliber arterial substitutes (p <0.05). Fifteen seconds after blood contact, the inner surface of carbon prostheses, regardless of the implantation site, was covered with a thin proteinaceous layer, whereas e-PTFE grafts appeared almost completely free from hematic deposits. One hour after implantation, a red thrombus was found to overlay the luminal surface of both carbon and e-PTFE prostheses. This layer appeared to be thicker on the e-PTFE grafts than on the carbon grafts and thicker on the venous grafts than on the arterial. The endothelialization process of the blood-prosthesis interface seemed to be slightly more rapid on the carbon than on the e-PTFE aortic grafts. In conclusion, this new carbon graft would appear to possess promising specifications, making it suitable for small-caliber arterial (but not venous) replacement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
JournalVascular Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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