BS in Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical and General Engineering Department
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), the most prevalent form of heart disease, is the result of clogged or damaged coronary arteries and claims around 380,000 Americans annually. A common treatment for CAD involves placing a stent into the artery in order to open the lumen and support the native tissue—a procedure that drastically reduces patient recovery times in comparison to heart bypass surgery. However, stents do not always interact well with the body and require additions such as surface coatings or drug elution in order for additional biocompatibility. These additions necessitate extensive in vitro and in vivo testing which are expensive and yield limited data concerning the human physiological response. To address this gap in testing, the Tissue Engineering Lab at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has developed a protocol to produce blood vessel mimics (BVMs) for the purposes of realistic in vitro evaluation of stents and other cardiovascular therapies.
The purpose of this project was to implement two BVM evaluation methods to test the outcomes and repeatability of the BVM protocol: compliance testing and cryosectioning. For compliance testing, a fixture, software, and a protocol was implemented and tested with the goal of obtaining repeatable compliance measurements. For cryosectioning, a protocol was implemented to obtain quality sections and stains for future use by the lab. Through the implementation of the compliance tester, it was found that the computed compliance may vary substantially due to a number of factors and thus a few major improvements were proposed, including purchasing a laser micrometer and a syringe pump. Proposed future work for the cryosectioning includes an in-depth characterization of the factors that contribute to quality sections which may include BVM thickness and BVM fixation lengths. Overall, this project increased BVM evaluation capacity in the Cal Poly Tissue Engineering Lab by providing additional methods to ensure manufacturing repeatability.