In vivo evaluation of skin integration with ventricular assist device drivelines

Amanda S. Cavalcanti, Raquel Sanchez Diaz, Eleonore C.L. Bolle, Nicole Bartnikowski, John F. Fraser, David McGiffin, Flavia Medeiros Savi, Abbas Shafiee, Tim R. Dargaville, Shaun D. Gregory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ventricular assist device (VAD) driveline exit site infection is a common complication. 3D scaffolds manufactured with highly homogeneous pores via melt electro-writing (MEW) may generate an improved skin-driveline interface which permits cellular in-growth and creates a barrier to prevent bacterial migration along the driveline tissue tunnel. This study investigated skin integration on segments of Heartmate 3 driveline: smooth polyurethane, velour, and on a custom MEW scaffold in a small animal model. Methods: Drivelines with surfaces consisting of smooth polyurethane, velour bonded to smooth polyurethane, and smooth polyurethane with a MEW scaffold sleeve were implanted percutaneously in the dorsum of 42 rats. Each rat was implanted with 2 pieces of driveline of 2 cm in length. Skin integration was assessed after 7 and 14 days. Results: Macroscopically, velour and MEW scaffold surfaces were anchored at the driveline-skin interface while smooth polyurethane samples were not attached. The histology analyses showed epidermal migration throughout the thickness of the velour and MEW scaffold groups. Evident tissue growth around single MEW scaffold fibers resulted in full coverage of the pores, while areas of compacted fibers were apparent in the velour group. Tissue ingrowth was significantly higher in the MEW group compared to the velour group after 7 (p < 0.0001) and 14 days (p < 0.0001). Marsupialization was observed in the smooth polyurethane samples. Mechanical pull-out forces were similar between velour and MEW scaffold groups at 7 and 14 days (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Velour and MEW scaffolds promoted epidermal integration while smooth polyurethane drivelines did not. Fine control of MEW scaffold structure production resulted in full cellular coverage and may reduce driveline infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1032-1043
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • drivelines
  • infection
  • LVAD
  • melt-electrowriting
  • skin integration

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