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An in vitro model for experimental evaluation of sonothrombolysis under tissue-mimicking material conditions

1 Department of R&D, MEDSONIC LTD, Limassol, Cyprus
2 Department of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Informatics, Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus

Correspondence Address:
Christakis Damianou,
Department of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Informatics, Cyprus University of Technology, 30 Archbishop Kyprianou Street, 3036 Limassol
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Background: The mechanical properties of therapeutic ultrasound (US) have attracted scientific interest for thrombolysis enhancement in combination with thrombolytic agents and microbubbles (MBs). The aim of the study was to develop an in vitro model to observe how the effects of sonothrombolysis change in the case where a tissue-mimicking material (TMM) is placed in the path of the US beam before the clot. Methods: Fully retracted blood clots were prepared and pulse sonicated for 1 h under various conditions. The system was in a state of real circulating flow with a branch of an open bypass and an occluded tube containing a blood clot, thus mimicking the case of ischemic stroke. The effectiveness of thrombolysis was quantified in milligrams of clots removed. An agar-based TMM was developed around the occluded tube. Results: The clot breakdown in a TMM was found to be more pronounced than in water, presumably due to the retention of the acoustic field. A higher level of acoustic power was required to initiate clot lysis (>76 W acoustic power) using only focused US (FUS). The greatest thrombolysis enhancement was observed with the largest chosen pulse duration (PD) and the use of MBs (150 mg clot mass lysis). The synergistic effect of FUS in combination with MBs on the enzymatic fibrinolysis enhanced thrombolysis efficacy by 260% compared to thrombolysis induced using only FUS. A reduction in the degree of clot lysis was detected due to the attenuation factor of the intervening material (30 mg at 1 and 4 ms PD). Conclusion: In vitro thrombolytic models including a TMM can provide a more realistic evaluation of new thrombolytic protocols. However, higher acoustic power should be considered to compensate for the attenuation factor. The rate of clot lysis is slow and the clinical use of this method will be challenging.

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