Background A significant native tracheal approximation phenomenon was observed in our previous study [Tsukada H, Ernst A, Gangadharan S, et al. Tracheal replacement with a silicone-stented fresh aortic allograft in sheep. Ann Thorac Surg 2010;89:2538], in which sheep trachea was replaced with an allogenic aortic graft in order to attempt transplantation. Because an appropriate tracheal replacement graft has yet to be determined, other means to repair or replace tracheal tissue have to be evaluated. The aim of this study was to test a bioabsorbable scaffold for temporary tracheal grafting. Methods Eight male sheep underwent cervical tracheal replacement (5 cm) using a copolymer of L-lactide and ε-caprolactone sponge tube reinforced by polyglycolic acid. A silicone stent (7 cm) was placed perioperatively to prevent graft collapse. Routine bronchoscopy and computed tomographic scans were scheduled for up to 9 months and necropsies with histologic examinations were scheduled at 9 months (n = 3), 6 months (n = 2), 4 months (n = 1), 3 months (n = 1), and 2 months (n = 1) after surgery. Results No procedural deaths and postoperative complications occurred. Planned follow-up points were reached in all animals. Computed tomographic imaging of the grafted area showed tracheal approximation up to 75% at 9 months after surgery. Silicone stents were removed at 9 months in three animals. Symptomatic airway collapse was observed at 6 hours, 1 week, and 2 weeks after stent removal. Epithelialization of the entire grafted area was confirmed in all sheep that were followed beyond 4 months. Conclusions Tracheal axial approximation occurs consistently after tracheal resection and replacement. Our data suggest that bioabsorbable materials can be used as a reliable, temporary, tracheal replacement conduit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine