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Electrospun polyurethane as an alternative ventricular catheter and in vitro model of shunt obstruction

Suresh, Supraja and Black, Richard A (2015) Electrospun polyurethane as an alternative ventricular catheter and in vitro model of shunt obstruction. Journal of Biomaterials Applications, 29 (7). 1028–1038. ISSN 0885-3282

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Abstract

Intracranial pressure and volume vary considerably between hydrocephalic patients, and with age, health and haemodynamic status; if left untreated, intracranial pressure rises and the ventricular system expands to accommodate the excess cerebrospinal fluid, with significant morbidity and mortality. Cerebrospinal fluid shunts in use today have a high incidence of failure with shunt obstruction being the most serious. Conventional proximal shunt catheters are made from poly(dimethyl)siloxane, the walls of which are perforated with holes for the cerebrospinal fluid to pass through. The limited range of catheters, in terms of material selection and flow distribution, is responsible in large part for their poor performance. In this study, we present an alternative design of proximal catheter made of electrospun polyether urethane, and evaluate its performance in the presence of glial cells, which are responsible for shunt blockage. The viability and growth of cells on catheter materials such as poly(dimethyl)siloxane and polyurethane in the form of cast films, microfibrous mats and porous sponges were studied in the presence of proteins present in cerebrospinal fluid after 48 h and 96 h in culture. The numbers of viable cells on each substrate were comparable to untreated poly(dimethyl)siloxane, both in the presence and absence of serum proteins found in cerebrospinal fluid. A cell culture model of shunt obstruction was developed in which cells on electrospun polyether urethane catheters were subjected to flow during culture in vitro, and the degree of obstruction quantified in terms of hydraulic permeability after static and perfusion culture. The results indicate that a catheter made of electrospun polyether urethane would be able to maintain cerebrospinal fluid flow even with the presence of cells for the time period chosen for this study. These findings have implications for the design and deployment of microporous shunt catheter systems for the treatment of hydrocephalus.