In vivo biocompatibility evaluation of composite polymeric materials for use in a novel artificial heart valve

Qiang Wang, Florida International University


A novel trileaflet polymer valve is a composite design of a biostable polymer poly(styrene-isobutylene-styrene) (SIBS) with a reinforcement polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fabric. Surface roughness and hydrophilicity vary with fabrication methods and influence leaflet biocompatibility. The purpose of this study was to investigate the biocompatibility of this composite material using both small animal (nonfunctional mode) and large animal (functional mode) models. Composite samples were manufactured using dip coating and solvent casting with different coating thickness (251μm and 50μm). Sample's surface was characterized through qualitative SEM observation and quantitative surface roughness analysis. A novel rat abdominal aorta model was developed to test the composite samples in a similar pulsatile flow condition as its intended use. The sample's tissue response was characterized by histological examination. Among the samples tested, the 25μm solvent-cast sample exhibited the smoothest surface and best biocompatibility in terms of tissue capsulation thickness, and was chosen as the method for fabrication of the SIBS valve. Phosphocholine was used to create a hydrophilic surface on selected composite samples, which resulted in improved blood compatibility. Four SIBS valves (two with phosphocholine modification) were implanted into sheep. Echocardiography, blood chemistry, and system pathology were conducted to evaluate the valve's performance and biocompatibility. No adverse response was identified following implantation. The average survival time was 76 days, and one sheep with the phosphocholine modified valve passed the FDA minimum requirement of 140 days with approximately 20 million cycles of valve activity. The explanted valves were observed under the aid of a dissection microscope, and evaluated via histology, SEM and X-ray. Surface cracks and calcified tissue deposition were found on the leaflets. In conclusion, we demonstrated the applicability of using a new rat abdominal aorta model for biocompatibility assessment of polymeric materials. A smooth and complete coating surface is essential for the biocompatibility of PET/SIBS composite, and surface modification using phosphocholine improves blood compatibility. Extrinsic calcification was identified on the leaflets and was associated with regions of surface cracks.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering

Recommended Citation

Wang, Qiang, "In vivo biocompatibility evaluation of composite polymeric materials for use in a novel artificial heart valve" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3353590.