The influence of prototype testing in three-dimensional aortic models on fenestrated endograft design

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Objective:The fenestrated Anaconda endograft (Vascutek/Terumo, Inchinnan, UK) is intended for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms with an insufficient infrarenal landing zone. The endografts are custom-made with use of high-resolution, 1-mm-slice computed tomography angiography images. For every case, a nonsterile prototype and a three-dimensional (3D) model of the patient's aorta are constructed to allow the engineers as well as the physician to test-implant the device and to review the fit of the graft. The aim of this investigation was to assess the impact of 3D model construction and prototype testing on the design of the final sterile endograft.Methods:A prospectively held database on fenestrated endovascular aortic repair patients treated at a single institution was completed with data from the Vascutek engineers' prototype test results as well as the product request forms. Changes to endograft design based on prototype testing were assessed and are reported for all procedures.Results:Between April 1, 2013, and August 18, 2015, 60 fenestrated Anaconda devices were implanted. Through prototype testing, engineers were able to identify and report potential risks to technical success related to use of the custom device for the respective patient. Theoretical concerns about endograft fit in the rigid model were expressed in 51 cases (85.0%), and the engineers suggested potential changes to the design of 21 grafts (35.0%). Thirteen cases (21.7%) were eventually modified after the surgeon's testing of the prototype. A second prototype was ordered in three cases (5.0%) because of extensive changes to endograft design, such as inclusion of an additional fenestration. Technical success rates were comparable for grafts that showed a perfect fit from the beginning and cases in which prototype testing resulted in a modification of graft design.Conclusions:Planning and construction of fenestrated endografts for complex aortic anatomies where exact fit and positioning of the graft are paramount to allow cannulation of the aortic branches are challenging. In the current series, approximately one in five endografts was modified after prototype testing in an aortic model. Eventually, success rates were comparable between the groups of patients with a good primary prototype fit and those in which the endograft design was altered. Prototype testing in 3D aortic models is a valuable tool to test the fit of a custom-made endograft before implantation. This may help avoid potentially debilitating adverse events associated with misaligned fenestrations and unconnected aortic branches.

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