Patch angioplasty is the most common technique used for the performance of carotid endarterectomy. A large number of patching materials are available for use while new materials are being continuously developed. Surprisingly little is known about the mechanical properties of these materials and how these properties compare with those of the carotid artery wall. Mismatch of the mechanical properties can produce mechanical and hemodynamic effects that may compromise the long-term patency of the endarterectomized arterial segment. The aim of this paper was to systematically evaluate and compare the biaxial mechanical behavior of the most commonly used patching materials. We compared PTFE (n = 1), Dacron (n = 2), bovine pericardium (n = 10), autogenous greater saphenous vein (n = 10), and autogenous external jugular vein (n = 9) with the wall of the common carotid artery (n = 18). All patching materials were found to be significantly stiffer than the carotid wall in both the longitudinal and circumferential directions. Synthetic patches demonstrated the most mismatch in stiffness values and vein patches the least mismatch in stiffness values compared to those of the native carotid artery. All biological materials, including the carotid artery, demonstrated substantial nonlinearity, anisotropy, and variability; however, the behavior of biological and biologically-derived patches was both qualitatively and quantitatively different from the behavior of the carotid wall. The majority of carotid arteries tested were stiffer in the circumferential direction, while the opposite anisotropy was observed for all types of vein patches and bovine pericardium. The rates of increase in the nonlinear stiffness over the physiological stress range were also different for the carotid and patching materials. Several carotid wall samples exhibited reverse anisotropy compared to the average behavior of the carotid tissue. A similar characteristic was observed for two of 19 vein patches. The obtained results quantify, for the first time, significant mechanical dissimilarity of the currently available patching materials and the carotid artery. The results can be used as guidance for designing more efficient patches with mechanical properties resembling those of the carotid wall. The presented systematic comparative mechanical analysis of the existing patching materials provides valuable information for patch selection in the daily practice of carotid surgery and can be used in future clinical studies comparing the efficacy of different patches in the performance of carotid endarterectomy.

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