Premature and very low birthweight (VLBW) infants are susceptible to numerous injuries during, and after parturition. If these injuries are neurological in nature, they can result in long-term cognitive and motor skill deficiencies. Cerebral hemorrhaging is a disease that has disastrous consequences on preterm and VLBW infants, and the mechanism for this type of hemorrhaging is currently not known. Bleeding in the ventricle region of the brain is termed intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) and occurs in 32% of infants with birth weights less than 1500 grams and born prior to 32 weeks gestation[1]; 75% of these will experience long-term neurological disabilities[2]. A lack of tissue structure of the cerebral vasculature in early stages of development is a possible underlying cause for such high occurrences of IVH[3,4,5]. Mechanical characterization of neonatal vasculature could show structural underdevelopment as the underlying cause of IVH and provide valuable insight into neonatal vascular development. We previously characterized the mechanical properties of whole umbilical cord arteries and found a correlation between vessel stiffness and gestational age[6]. Considerations of the helical structure of late term umbilical cord vessels prompted a revisit of the characterization of the vessels with altered testing methods. To negate the effects of the vessels’ tortuous structure on stiffness values, we tested axial and circumferential small strips of human umbilical cord artery at various gestational time.

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