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Limitations of using synthetic blood clots for measuring in vitro clot capture efficiency of inferior vena cava filters

Authors Robinson RA, Herbertson LH, Das SS, Malinauskas RA, Pritchard WF, Grossman LW

Received 9 January 2013

Accepted for publication 26 March 2013

Published 10 May 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 49—57

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/MDER.S42555

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Ronald A Robinson, Luke H Herbertson, Srilekha Sarkar Das, Richard A Malinauskas, William F Pritchard, Laurence W Grossman

Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD, USA

Abstract: The purpose of this study was first to evaluate the clot capture efficiency and capture location of six currently-marketed vena cava filters in a physiological venous flow loop, using synthetic polyacrylamide hydrogel clots, which were intended to simulate actual blood clots. After observing a measured anomaly for one of the test filters, we redirected the focus of the study to identify the cause of poor clot capture performance for large synthetic hydrogel clots. We hypothesized that the uncharacteristic low clot capture efficiency observed when testing the outlying filter can be attributed to the inadvertent use of dense, stiff synthetic hydrogel clots, and not as a result of the filter design or filter orientation. To study this issue, sheep blood clots and polyacrylamide (PA) synthetic clots were injected into a mock venous flow loop containing a clinical inferior vena cava (IVC) filter, and their captures were observed. Testing was performed with clots of various diameters (3.2, 4.8, and 6.4 mm), length-to-diameter ratios (1:1, 3:1, 10:1), and stiffness. By adjusting the chemical formulation, PA clots were fabricated to be soft, moderately stiff, or stiff with elastic moduli of 805 ± 2, 1696 ± 10 and 3295 ± 37 Pa, respectively. In comparison, the elastic moduli for freshly prepared sheep blood clots were 1690 ± 360 Pa. The outlying filter had a design that was characterized by peripheral gaps (up to 14 mm) between its wire struts. While a low clot capture rate was observed using large, stiff synthetic clots, the filter effectively captured similarly sized sheep blood clots and soft PA clots. Because the stiffer synthetic clots remained straight when approaching the filter in the IVC model flow loop, they were more likely to pass between the peripheral filter struts, while the softer, physiological clots tended to fold and were captured by the filter. These experiments demonstrated that if synthetic clots are used as a surrogate for animal or human blood clots for in vitro evaluation of vena cava filters, the material properties (eg, elastic modulus) and dynamic behavior of the surrogate should first be assessed to ensure that they accurately mimic an actual blood clot within the body.

Keywords: blood clot, elastic modulus, polyacrylamide hydrogel, in vitro testing of vena cava filters

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