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3D bioprinting of vascular conduits for pediatric congenital heart repairs

Published:April 11, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trsl.2019.03.007
      In children with congenital heart defects, surgical correction often involves the use of valves, patches or vascular conduits to establish anatomic continuity. Due to the differences between the pediatric and adult populations, tissue reconstruction in pediatric patients requires a substantially different approach from those in adults. Cardiovascular anatomy of children with congenital heart defect vary, which requires tailored surgical operations for each patient. Since grafts used in these palliative surgeries are sensitive to the local hemodynamic environments, their geometries need to be precisely designed to ensure long-term performance. Tissue engineered vascular grafts (TEVGs) have made tremendous progress over the past decade, but it remains difficult to fabricate patient- and operation-specific vascular grafts. This review summarizes historical milestones of TEVG development for repairing pediatric congenital defects and current clinical outcomes. We also highlight ongoing works on 3D bioprinting of TEVGs with complex geometries and address the current limitations of each technique. Although 3D bioprinted vascular grafts with appropriate functions are yet to be developed, some of the current researches are promising to create better patient specific tissue engineered vascular grafts in the future.
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