This article points to the importance of penetrating micropores through the graft wall to minimize thrombosis and to enhance endothelialization in small diameter polymer skin coated vascular grafts. Four types of spongy polyurethane-polydimethylsiloxane vascular grafts (PUG) fabricated by a spray, phase-inversion technique, 1.5 mm inner diameter, 1.5–1.9 cm in length, were implanted end-to-end in the infrarenal aorta of 26 adult rats. Some had a continuous inner skin and a hydraulic permeability (HP) of 0 ml/min/cm2/120 mmHg (PUG-S-O). Some had an inner skin with varying amounts of isolated penetrating micropores and a mean hydraulic permeability of 11 (PUG-S-11), 37 (PUG-S-37), or 58 ml/min/cm2/120 mmHg (PUG-S-58). Twelve PUG-S-O, 6 PUG-S-11, 4 PUG-S-11, and 4 PUG-S-58 were evaluated between 2 hr and 3 months after implantation. All PUG-S-O occluded soon after implantation. The PUG that had a HP of more than 11 ml/min/cm2 showed acceptable patency. However, endothelialization was limited to anastomoses in Patent PUG-S-11. In contrast, the patent PUG-S-37 and PUG-S-58 were largely endothelialized. In all patent grafts at 3 months, mumerous host cells had magrated, and newly formed capillaries were seen in the voids of the graft wall, which appeared moderately to highly cellular. in conclusion, it appears that penetrating micropores through the graft wall increase patency and that a highly porous structure is needed to achieve extensive endothelialization in small diameter polymer skin coated vascular grafts.
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