The development of endotension is associated with increased transmission of pressure and serous components in porous expanded polytetrafluoroethylene stent-grafts: Characterization using a canine model

Susan M. Trocciola, Rajeev Dayal, Rabih A. Chaer, Stephanie C. Lin, Brian DeRubertis, Evan J. Ryer, Robert L. Hynececk, Matthew J. Pierce, Martin Prince, Juan Badimon, Michael L. Marin, Valentin Fuster, K. Craig Kent, Peter L. Faries

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Objective: This study used a canine model of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) to compare intra-aneurysmal pressure and thrombus formation after exclusion with Dacron and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) stent-grafts. Methods: Prosthetic AAAs with implanted strain-gauge pressure transducers were treated by stent-graft exclusion using Food and Drug Administration-approved devices in 10 mongrel dogs: five Dacron (AneuRx) and five ePTFE (original Excluder). Intra-aneurysmal pressure was measured over 4 weeks after AAA exclusion and indexed to the systemic pressure, represented as a percentage of a simultaneously obtained systemic pressure (value = 1.0). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the intra-aneurysmal thrombus was performed at 1, 2, and 4 weeks after exclusion and expressed as a signal-to-noise ratio (S:N) to control for background signal intensity. Comparisons of pressures and S:N between the two stent-grafts was analyzed with the Student's t test. Intra-aneurysmal thrombus was characterized histologically. Results: In animals excluded with both Dacron and ePTFE stent-grafts, the intra-aneurysmal pressure was nonpulsatile and reduced to <30% of systemic pressure. Significantly greater pressure transmission was observed after AAA exclusion using ePTFE compared with Dacron stent grafts (systolic pressure: ePTFE, 0.28 ± 0.12 vs Dacron, 0.11 ± 0.02, P < .001; mean pressure: ePTFE, 0.16 ± 0.08 vs Dacron, 0.06 ± 0.02, P < .001). MRI confirmed the absence of perfusion in all aneurysms. The T1-weighted signal intensity remained persistently elevated (S:N at 1 week, 2.7 ± 0.4 vs 2 weeks, 4.0 ± 0.2 vs 4 weeks, 5.4 ± 1.3) in ePTFE-treated intra-aneurysmal thrombus, suggesting an absence of thrombus organization. In contrast, progressive evolution of T1 signal intensity in aneurysms excluded by Dacron stent-grafts was consistent with maturation from intact red blood cells (S:N at 1 week, 3.3 ± 0.4) to methemoglobin (S:N at 2 weeks, 6.1 ± 0.8), and then hemosiderin and ferritin (S:N at 4 weeks, 2.4 ± 0.5). Histologically, ePTFE-excluded aneurysms contained poorly organized thrombus with red blood cell fragments and haphazardly arranged fibrin deposition indicative of active remodeling and continued influx of transudated serum. In aneurysms excluded by Dacron stent-grafts, dense, mature collagenous connective tissue and organized fibrin were present, indicative of greater thrombus organization. Conclusions: Stent-graft treatment reduces intra-aneurysmal pressure to <30% of systemic pressure when no endoleak is present; however, significantly greater pressure is present in aneurysms treated with porous ePTFE stent-grafts than Dacron grafts. Histologic and MRI imaging analysis suggest that active transudation of serous blood components may be contributing to this increased intra-aneurysmal pressure. Clinical Relevance: Continued expansion of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) in the absence of an endoleak after endovascular repair is thought to result from endotension. Clinical studies have shown that AAAs excluded with grafts made from expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) are more likely to result in aneurysm sac expansion, which may be the result of transudation of serous blood components through the stent-graft. This study used an animal model of AAA to examine aneurysm sac pressure and resulting thrombus in abdominal aortic aneurysms treated with either ePTFE or Dacron stent-grafts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


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