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New Mitral Valve Annuloplasty Concept: Optimizing Annular Dynamics and Force Distribution.

BACKGROUND: Temporal three-dimensional (3D) analysis of the mitral valve biomechanics has prompted a re-evaluation of surgical approaches and repair device designs to accommodate the natural dynamics of the valve. Such new designs strive to obtain lower annulus restraining forces, resulting in more natural leaflet and chordal stresses. A new annuloplasty system was evaluated using 3D motion and out-of-plane force analysis. It was hypothesized that this system would not impact the valve with adverse motion restrictions or high systolic annular forces compared to conventional flat rigid ring designs.

METHODS: In an acute porcine set-up, six 80 kg pigs were monitored before and after implantation of the new annuloplasty system consisting of two half-rings with a saddle-shaped outline. Valvular 3D dynamic geometry was obtained using sonomicrometry before and after annuloplasty system implantation. Strain gauges mounted on the commissural segments provided the annular restraining force distribution perpendicular to the annular plane.

RESULTS: The change in annular height to commissural width ratio from diastole to systole did not alter following implantation (p >0.05). Out-of-plane systolic restraining forces were 0.2 ± 0.1 N and 0.8 ± 0.3 N (mean ± SEM) in the posterior and anterior commissural segments, respectively, without any difference in-between (p >0.1). Forces in both commissural segments were significantly lowered compared to previous measurements with a flat and stiff mitral annuloplasty ring (p <0.01). Mitral annular septal-lateral distance, area, and circumference in the commissural segments were decreased after implantation (p <0.05). The cross-annular distance between the commissural segments and the lengths of the anterior and posterior annular segments did not change following implantation (p >0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The new annuloplasty system design maintained annular 3D dynamics and provided a minimized out-of-plane restraining force distribution compared to earlier studies on flat rigid rings. This may have important implications in the selection of annuloplasty devices in order to increase repair durability.

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