Simulated bioprosthetic heart valve deformation under quasi-static loading

Wei Sun, Ajay Abad, Michael S Sacks
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 2005, 127 (6): 905-14
For more than 40 years, the replacement of diseased natural heart valves with prosthetic devices has dramatically extended the quality and length of the lives of millions of patients worldwide. However, bioprosthetic heart valves (BHV) continue to fail due to structural failure resulting from poor tissue durability and faulty design. Clearly, an in-depth understanding of the biomechanical behavior of BHV at both the tissue and functional prosthesis levels is essential to improving BHV design and to reduce rates of failure. In this study, we simulated quasi-static BHV leaflet deformation under 40, 80, and 120 mm Hg quasi-static transvalvular pressures. A Fung-elastic material model was used that incorporated material parameters and axes derived from actual leaflet biaxial tests and measured leaflet collagen fiber structure. Rigorous experimental validation of predicted leaflet strain field was used to validate the model results. An overall maximum discrepancy of 2.36% strain between the finite element (FE) results and experiment measurements was obtained, indicating good agreement between computed and measured major principal strains. Parametric studies utilizing the material parameter set from one leaflet for all three leaflets resulted in substantial variations in leaflet stress and strain distributions. This result suggests that utilization of actual leaflet material properties is essential for accurate BHV FE simulations. The present study also underscores the need for rigorous experimentation and accurate constitutive models in simulating BHV function and design.

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