AbstractCirculating blood cells are prone to varying flow conditions when contacting cardiovascular devices. For a profound understanding of the complex interplay between the blood components/cells and cardiovascular implant surfaces, testing under varying shear conditions is required. Here, we study the influence of arterial and venous shear conditions on the in vitro evaluation of the thrombogenicity of polymer-based implant materials.
Medical grade poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) films were included as reference materials. The polymers were exposed to whole blood from healthy humans. Blood was agitated orbitally at low (venous shear stress: 2.8 dyne · cm–2) and high (arterial shear stress: 22.2 dyne · cm–2) agitation speeds in a well-plate based test system. Numbers of non-adherent platelets, platelet activation (P-Selectin positive platelets), platelet function (PFA100 closure times) and platelet adhesion (laser scanning microscopy (LSM)) were determined.
Microscopic data and counting of the circulating cells revealed increasing numbers of material-surface adherent platelets with increasing agitation speed. Also, activation of the platelets was substantially increased when tested under the high shear conditions (P-Selectin levels, PFA-100 closure times). At low agitation speed, the platelet densities did not differ between the three materials. Tested at the high agitation speed, lowest platelet densities were observed on PDMS, intermediate levels on PET and highest on PTFE. While activation of the circulating platelets was affected by the implant surfaces in a similar manner, PFA closure times did not reflect this trend.
Differences in the thrombogenicity of the studied polymers were more pronounced when tested at high agitation speed due to the induced shear stresses. Testing under varying shear stresses, thus, led to a different evaluation of the implant thrombogenicity, which emphasizes the need for testing under various flow conditions. Our data further confirmed earlier findings where the same reference implants were tested under static (and not dynamic) conditions and with fresh human platelet rich plasma instead of whole blood. This supports that the application of common reference materials may improve inter-study comparisons, even under varying test conditions.