A blocked blood vessel is usually
replaced by another vessel taken from the body or by an artificial blood
Scientists at Vienna University of
Technology and Vienna Medical University in Austria have developed artificial
blood vessels that are made from biocompatible and biodegradable thermoplastic
polyurethanes that transform into biological ones when implanted.
This latest breakthrough
could allow surgeons to carry out more bypass operations and reduce the risk of
blockages associated with smaller artificial blood vessels.
"By selecting very
specific molecular building blocks we have succeeded in synthesizing a polymer
with the desired properties," said Robert Liska from Vienna University of
Technology's synthetic chemistry institute.
The blood vessel created by the scientists is slightly porous and
initially allows a small amount of blood to steep through, encouraging nearby
tissues to thrive. Over time natural endogenous cells replace the artificial
The researchers tested
the new vessels on laboratory rats, implanting them and checking up on them six
months later. "We did not find any aneurysms, thromboses or inflammation. The
natural cells had also turned the artificial vessel into natural body tissue,"
said, Helga Bergmeister from Vienna Medical University.