Nondestructive and noninvasive assessment of mechanical properties in heart valve tissue engineering

J. Kortsmit, N.J.B. Driessen, M.C.M. Rutten, F.P.T. Baaijens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Despite recent progress, mechanical behavior of tissue-engineered heart valves still needs improvement when native aortic valves are considered as a benchmark. Although it is known that cyclic straining enhances tissue formation, optimal loading protocols have not been defined yet. To obtain a better understanding of the effects of mechanical conditioning on tissue development, mechanical behavior of tissue constructs should be monitored and controlled during culture. However, currently used methods for mechanical characterization (e.g., tensile and indentation tests) are destructive and are only performed at the end-stage of tissue culture. In this study, an inverse experimental-numerical approach was developed that enables a noninvasive and nondestructive assessment of mechanical properties of engineered heart valves. The applied pressure and volumetric deformation of an engineered heart valve were measured during culture, and served as input for the estimation of mechanical properties using a computational model. To validate the method, six heart valves were cultured, and the mechanical properties obtained from the inverse experimental-numerical approach were in good agreement with uniaxial tensile test data. The method provides a real-time, noninvasive and nondestructive functionality and quality check of tissue-engineered heart valves and can be used to monitor and control the evolution of mechanical properties during tissue culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-806
JournalTissue engineering. Part A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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