Suture needles are essential instruments for performing blood vessel anastomosis in coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgeries. Exceptional needle performance is needed now as never before because of the increasing prevalence of elderly patients with advanced stages of coronary disease and calcified tissue. The various properties that affect the performance of suture needles used in CABG surgery are reviewed and recent progress towards improving needle performance through the use of tungsten-rhenium alloys and novel lubricous needle coatings is presented. Substantial enhancement of properties beyond those exhibited by commercially available stainless steel suture needles has been made, including an approximate 40% increase in strength, 100% increase in stiffness, and superior multiple pass penetration performance in both synthetic rubber media and human cadaver carotid arteries (p < 0.01).
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