As the incidence of cardiovascular disease continues to climb worldwide, there is a corresponding increase in demand for surgical interventions involving vascular grafts. The current gold standard for vascular grafts is autologous vessels, an option often excluded due to disease circumstances. As a result, many patients must resort to prosthetic options. While widely available, prosthetic grafts have been demonstrated to have inferior patency rates compared with autologous grafts due to inflammation and thrombosis. In an attempt to overcome these limitations, many different materials for constructing vascular grafts, from modified synthetic nondegradable polymers to biodegradable polymers, have been explored, many of which have entered the translational stage of research. This article reviews these materials in the context of large animal models, providing an outlook on the preclinical potential of novel biomaterials as well as the future direction of vascular graft research.
Keywords: biomaterials; large animal models; tissue-engineered vascular grafts; vascular grafts.