Design and performance assessment of aortic heart valve for tissue engineering

Ronald Alexander Gutierrez, Florida International University


Current artificial heart valves are classified as mechanical and bioprosthetic. An appealing pathway that promises to overcome the shortcomings of commercially available heart valves is offered by the interdisciplinary approach of cardiovascular tissue engineering. However, the mechanical properties of the Tissue Engineering Heart Valves (TEHV) are limited and generally fail in the long-term use. To meet this performance challenge novel biodegradable triblock copolymer poly(ethylene oxide)-polypropylene oxide)-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO-PPO-PEO or F108) crosslinked to Silk Fibroin (F108-SilkC) to be used as tri-leaflet heart valve material was investigated. Synthesis of ten polymers with varying concentration and thickness (55 µm, 75 µm and 100 µm) was achieved via a covalent crosslinking scheme using bifunctional polyethylene glycol diglycidyl ether (PEGDE). Static and fatigue testing were used to assess mechanical properties of films, and hydrodynamic testing was performed to determine performance under a simulated left ventricular flow regime. The crosslinked copolymer (F108-Silk C) showed greater flexibility and resilience, but inferior ultimate tensile strength, by increasing concentration of PEGDE. Concentration molar ratio of 80:1 (F108: Silk) and thickness of 75 µm showed longer fatigue life for both tension-tension and bending fatigue tests. Four valves out of twelve designed satisfactorily complied with minimum performance requirement ISO 5840, 2005. In conclusion, it was demonstrated that the applicability of a degradable polymer in conjugation with silk fibroin for tissue engineering cardiovascular use, specifically for aortic valve leaflet design, met the performance demands. Thinner thicknesses (t<75 >µm) in conjunction with stiffness lower than 320 MPa (80:1, F108: Silk) are essential for the correct functionality of proposed heart valve biomaterial F108-SilkC. Fatigue tests were demonstrated to be a useful tool to characterize biomaterials that undergo cyclic loading.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering

Recommended Citation

Gutierrez, Ronald Alexander, "Design and performance assessment of aortic heart valve for tissue engineering" (2010). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3430524.