GO-Graft - A synthetic vascular graft for coronary artery bypass grafting

Andreia Pereira


    Andreia Pereira


    Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomédica (INEB), Portugal


    Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world and, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), claim 18 million lives each year. Within this group of pathologies, coronary artery disease (CAD), which leads to heart attack, affects 335 million people worldwide. CAD occurs when the blood vessels supplying the heart are damaged or blocked, usually by cholesterol plaques in the arteries.

    The treatments available for people with CAD include medication or reopening blocked vessels to re-establish blood flow using stents. In the most severe cases, which account for about 1 % of patients, surgery must be performed to replace the damaged vessels with new ones. The gold standard is to use the patient’s own blood vessels, known as autologous grafts, from other parts of the body. However, autologous grafts are not always available and this option entails a number of potential complications, including several surgical procedures, both to remove the vessels and to implant them, as well as possible associated infections.

    Synthetic grafts are also available, and these work well for replacing medium- or large-diameter vessels. However, in the case of small vessels, such as the coronary arteries, thrombus formation tends to occur.

    In response to these challenges, the researchers have developed the GO-Graft, the first synthetic anti-adhesive small-diameter vascular graft for coronary artery bypass grafting. Made from a mechanically reinforced hydrogel with graphene oxide, it performs well in thrombosis prevention and acts against bacterial adhesion.