How to TEVAR swine for scientific research: Technical, anatomic, and device considerations to translate human TEVAR techniques into the large animal laboratory

David P. Stonko, Rebecca N. Treffalls, Joseph Edwards, Hossam Abdou, Eric Lang, Daniel C. Stonko, Pierce Cullen, Caitlin W. Hicks, Jonathan J. Morrison*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair (TEVAR) is well established in humans. Despite widespread use, additional research questions related to thoracic aortic stenting and endovascular innovation require large animal models. Translating human TEVAR devices and techniques into animal models, however, is a challenge even for experienced endovascular surgeons looking to develop a large animal TEVAR model. This article describes swine-specific strategies to deploy human TEVAR stent grafts, delineate how to select, size, prepare, and re-use human stents and deployment systems in swine, and how to translate human imaging modalities to large animal TEVAR. Methods: We describe a selection of related TEVAR models and techniques in Yorkshire swine to support scientific inquiry. This includes an animal husbandry and pre-operative preparation and planning program. All imaged specimens in this paper are castrated male Yorkshire swine in the 60–80 kg range and underwent TEVAR with the Medtronic Navion stent and deployment system. Results: To study human aortic stent grafts in swine, the animals generally must be at least 50 kgs to guarantee a 2 cm internal aortic diameter at the left subclavian, and for the iliac arteries to accommodate the human deployment system. Swine will have longer torsos and shorter iliofemoral segments than a human of the same weight which can make human deployment systems too short to reach the left subclavian from the femoral arteries in larger animals. We provide techniques to overcome this, including open iliac access or upside-down carotid TEVAR, which may be particularly useful if the scientific data would be confounded by iliofemoral access. Unlike humans that present clinically with axial imaging, swine will generally not have preoperative imaging, and many translational research laboratories do not have access to inexpensive preoperative CT, or any intraoperative CT scanning, which we are fortunate to have. We describe, therefore, several strategies for imaging in this setting including TEVAR via C-arm fluoroscopy and with or without in-laboratory CT scanning. Due to the low-resource setting of most large animal laboratories, as compared to a human hybrid room, we also describe several techniques to reduce cost and reuse materials, including the stent grafts, which at the end of non-survival experiments can be recovered during necropsy, cleaned, reinserted into the deployment device and reused on additional animals. Conclusions: This article describes a collection of related techniques and tips to translate human TEVAR imaging, sizing/selection, deployment, and anatomy to swine research. Using this framework alone, an experienced human vascular or endovascular surgeon may develop a complete aortic stenting animal model with strategies for scientific data acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • aortic stenting
  • endovascular therapy
  • large animal surgery
  • swine surgery
  • translational research


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