The effect of ventricular assist device-associated biomaterials on human blood leukocytes

Gemma Radley, Ina Laura Pieper, Catherine A Thornton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ventricular assist devices (VADs) are an effective bridging or destination therapy for patients with advanced stage heart failure. These devices remain susceptible to adverse events including infection, bleeding, and thrombus; events linked to the foreign body response. Therefore, the biocompatibility of all biomaterials used is crucial to the success of medical devices. Biomaterials common in VADs-DLC: diamond-like carbon coated stainless steel; Sap: single-crystal sapphire; SiN: silicon nitride; Ti: titanium alloy; and ZTA: zirconia-toughened alumina-were tested for their biocompatibility through incubation with whole human blood for 2 h with mild agitation. Blood was then removed and used for: complete cell counts; leukocyte activation and death, and the production of key inflammatory cytokines. All were compared to time 0 and an un-exposed 2 h sample. Monocyte numbers were lower after exposure to DLC, SiN, and ZTA and monocytes showed evidence of activation with DLC, Sap, and SiN. Neutrophils and lymphocytes were unaffected. This approach allows comprehensive analysis of the potential blood damaging effects of biomaterials. Monocyte activation by DLC, Sap, ZTA, and SiN warrants further investigation linking effects on this cell type to unfavorable inflammatory/thrombogenic responses to VADs and other blood handling devices. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 106B: 1730-1738, 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1730-1738
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of biomedical materials research. Part B, Applied biomaterials
Issue number5
Early online date9 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • biomaterials
  • blood
  • flow cytometry
  • human
  • ventricular assist devices


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