2010-10-12_ygraft_graftenA textile blood vessel with a unique design is going to improve the quality of life for cardiovascular patients. In the Smart Textiles project “Y-Graft in Humanly Adjusted Textiles” development has reached the stage where innovators Erney Mattsson and Torbjörn Lundh are hopeful in starting testing the blood vessel before winter. The future holds an enormous market for the patented vessel.

“We hope to be able to produce ‘Y-Graft’ in Sweden!”

The development of the project is well in line with the goals and visions of Smart Textiles. The company-based projects are intended to lead to production and an increase in growth, something that is fully possible with the new knitted blood vessel. “There are a few technical issues to resolve. But during this autumn we think we will be able to test the new vessel on animals,” says vascular surgeon Erney Mattsson – one of the originators of Y-Graft.

2010-10-12_yraft_innovatorernaThe background for the idea has eluded researchers and surgeons for years. Within a year of a bypass operation, 30% of patients experience their bypasses clogged by dried blood. “A bypass operation is often performed on the heart or the legs in case of arteriosclerosis. An extra vessel is then put in to transmit the blood past the sclerosis,” explains Erney Mattsson.

“The problem that occurs within a year for some patients is that the extra scar tissue that is formed around the new blood vessel clogs the blood flow, leading to blood drying and clogging the bypass. The situation could end in a cardiac arrest or an amputation of the leg.

Shaped Like in Nature

Scar tissue is formed when there is turbulence, when the blood does not flow uninterrupted. Previous research has tried to solve the problem with different kinds of pharmaceuticals, but without success.

“Through simulations and calculations we have found the best shape for a vessel that corresponds to the human physique, which cannot be said of the ‘older’ bypass vessels,” says bio-mathematician Torbjörn Lundh.

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The image on the left shows a bypass as it is performed today. To the right is a Y-Graft, shaped to match the human physique.

In their production of prototypes, they have used a well tested polyester material, and been greatly aided by the competency at Smart Textiles.

“We are very impressed by the innovative and skilful technicians at the Swedish School of Textiles. We would never have gotten this far without the technical assistance that we’ve received,” says Erney Mattsson.

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Business meets academia in the tricot laboratory. Torbjörn Lundh and Erney Mattsson have received technical assistance from Lars Brandin (middle), technician at the Swedish School of Textiles, in producing the knitted blood vessel

Facts: Bypass Operations

  • Annually, 1.3 million people the world over receive bypass operations surgery
  • Of these, 30% or around 400 000 people have issues with formation of scar tissue
  • Y-Graft is patented in Sweden and pending patent in another 42 countries
  • The biggest market in the USA, with and annual 800 000 cases of bypass surgery
  • An artificial blood vessel costs somewhere between 5 000 and 10 000 SEK

Written by: Therese Rosenblad
Photo: Jan Berg