Author: Drake D Pedersen, Seungil Kim, Antonio D’Amore, William R Wagner

Title: Cardiac valve scaffold design: Implications of material properties and geometric configuration on performance and mechanics

Summary: Development of tissue engineered scaffolds for cardiac valve replacement is nearing clinical translation. While much work has been done to characterize mechanical behavior of native and bioprosthetic valves, and incorporate those data into models improving valve design, similar work for degradable valve scaffolds is lacking. This is particularly important given the implications mechanics have on short-term survival and long-term remodeling. As such, this study aimed to characterize spatially-resolved strain profiles on the leaflets of degradable polymeric valve scaffolds, manipulating common design features such as material stiffness by blending poly(carbonate urethane)urea with stiffer polymers, and geometric configuration, modeled after either a clinically-used valve design (Mk1 design) or an anatomically “optimized” design (Mk2 design). It was shown that material stiffness plays a significant role in overall valve performance, with the stiffest valve groups showing asymmetric and incomplete opening during systole. However, the geometric configuration had a significantly greater effect on valve performance as well as strain magnitude and distribution. Major findings in the strain maps included systolic strains having overall higher strain magnitudes than diastole, and peak radial-direction strain concentrations in the base region of Mk1 valves during systole, with a significant mitigation of radial strain in Mk2 valves. The high tunability of tissue engineered scaffolds is a great advantage for valve design, and the results reported here indicate that design parameters have significant and unequal impact on valve performance and mechanics.

Source: J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2023 Jul 27;146:106043. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2023.106043. Online ahead of print.