Real time, non-invasive assessment of leaflet deformation in heart valve tissue engineering

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

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22 Citations (Scopus)


In heart valve tissue engineering, most bioreactors try to mimic physiological flow and operate with a preset transvalvular pressure applied to the tissue. The induced deformations are unknown and can vary during culturing as a consequence of changing mechanical properties of the engineered construct. Real-time measurement and control of local tissue strains are desired to systematically study the effects of mechanical loading on tissue development and, consequently, to design an optimal conditioning protocol. In this study, a method is presented to assess local tissue strains in heart valve leaflets during culturing. We hypothesize that local tissue strains can be determined from volumetric deformation. Volumetric deformation is defined as the amount of fluid displaced by the deformed heart valve leaflets in a stented configuration, and is measured, non-invasively, using a flow sensor. A numerical model is employed to relate volumetric deformation to local tissue strains in various regions of the leaflets (e.g. belly and commissures). The flow-based deformation measurement method was validated and its functionality was demonstrated in a tissue engineering experiment. Tri-leaflet, stented heart valves were cultured in vitro and during mechanical conditioning, realistic values for volumetric and local deformation were obtained. © 2008 The Author(s)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-541
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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