Biomechanics and biocompatibility of the perfect conduit—can we build one?
No currently available conduit meets the criteria for an ideal coronary artery bypass graft. The perfect conduit would combine the availability and complication-free harvest of a synthetic vessel with the longterm patency performance of the internal mammary artery. However, current polymer conduits suffer from inelastic mechanical properties and especially poor surface biocompatibility, resulting in early loss of patency as a coronary graft. Approaches to manufacture an improved conduit using new polymers or polymer surfaces, acellular matrices, or cellular constructs have to date failed to achieve a commercially successful alternative. Elastin, by mimicking the native extracellular environment as well as providing elasticity, provides the ‘missing link’ in vascular conduit design and brings new hope for realization of the perfect conduit.