Evaluation of the probe burst test as a measure of strength for a biologically-engineered vascular graft

Zeeshan H. Syedain, Abrielle Prunty, Jirong Li, Robert T. Tranquillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Biologically-engineered vascular grafts have the potential to provide a viable alternative to donor vessels and synthetic grafts. In congenital heart defect patients, the need is even more dire since neither has the capacity to provide somatic growth. To ensure clinically-used grafts perform to accepted standards, mechanical strength is a crucial consideration, with burst testing being considered as one key metric. While ISO 7198 standards for prosthetic vascular grafts provide multiple choices for burst testing, most studies with tissue-engineered grafts have been performed with only pressure burst testing. Here, we compare the performance of a decellularized tube of collagenous matrix grown from dermal fibroblasts, possessing circumferential fiber alignment and anisotropic tensile properties, as determined from pressure and probe burst testing. The two burst tests showed a strong correlation with each other and with tensile strength. Further, relatively weak and strong batches of grafts showed commensurate differences in pressure and probe burst values. Both probe burst and tensile strength measurements in the central and edge regions of the grafts were similar in value, consistent with homogenous collagen content and microstructure throughout the grafts as indicated by histology, in contrast to ovine femoral and carotid arteries similarly tested. Finite element analysis of the probe burst test pre-failure for a homogeneous, isotropic approximation of the matrix constitutive behavior indicated dependence of the (inferred) effective failure stress achievable on probe diameter. The results indicate a probe burst test in a sampled edge region of this biologically-engineered graft provides a representative measure of burst strength of the entire graft.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104527
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge funding from NIH R01 HL107572 to R.T.T.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Burst test
  • ISO7198
  • Mechanical testing
  • Probe
  • Regenerative tissue
  • Tissue engineering
  • Vascular graft


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