Functional analysis of bioprosthetic heart valves

G Arcidiacono, A Corvi, T Severi
Journal of Biomechanics 2005, 38 (7): 1483-90
Glutaraldehyde-treated bovine pericardium is used successfully as bioprosthetic material in the manufacturing of heart valves leaflets. The mechanical properties of bovine pericardial aortic valve leaflets seem to influence its mechanical behaviour and the failure mechanisms. In this study the effect of orthotropy on tricuspid bioprosthetic aortic valve was analysed, using a three-dimensional finite element model, during the entire cardiac cycle. Multiaxial tensile tests were also performed to determine the anisotropy of pericardium. Seven different models of the same valve were analysed using different values of mechanical characteristics from one leaflet to another, considering pericardium as an orthotropic material. The results showed that even a small difference between values along the two axes of orthotropy can negatively influence leaflets performance as regard both displacement and stress distribution. Leaflets of bovine pericardium bioprostheses could be manufactured to be similar to natural human heart valves reproducing their well-known anisotropy. In this way it could be possible to improve the manufacturing process, durability and function of pericardial bioprosthetic valves.

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