Quantifying the mechanical and histological properties of thrombus analog made from human blood for the creation of synthetic thrombus for thrombectomy device testing

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Abstract

Background

Untreated ischemic stroke can lead to severe morbidity and death, and as such, there are numerous endovascular blood-clot removal (thrombectomy) devices approved for human use. Human thrombi types are highly variable and are typically classified in qualitative terms - ‘soft/red,' ‘hard/white,' or ‘aged/calcified.' Quantifying human thrombus properties can accelerate the development of thrombus analogs for the study of thrombectomy outcomes, which are often inconsistent among treated patients.

Methods

‘Soft'human thrombi were created from blood samples ex vivo (ie, human blood clotted in sample vials) and tested for mechanical properties using a hybrid rheometer material testing system. Synthetic thrombus materials were also mechanically tested and compared with the ‘soft' human blood clots.

Results

Mechanical testing quantified the shear modulus and dynamic (elastic) modulus of volunteer human thrombus samples. This data was used to formulate a synthetic blood clot made from a composite polymer hydrogel of polyacrylamide and alginate (PAAM-Alg). The PAAM-Alg interpenetrating network of covalently and ionically cross-linked polymers had tunable elastic and shear moduli properties and shape memory characteristics.

Conclusions

Due to its adjustable properties, PAAM-Alg can be modified to mimic various thrombi classifications. Future studies will include obtaining and quantitatively classifying patient thrombectomy samples and altering the PAAM-Alg to mimic the results for use with in vitro thrombectomy studies.

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