Abstract

The need for improved heart valve prostheses is especially critical in pediatric applications, where growth and remodeling are essential. Tissue engineered heart valves (TEHV) have functioned in the pulmonary circulation of growing lambs for up to four months [1], and thus can potentially overcome limitations of current bioprosthetic heart valves. Despite these promising results, significant questions remain. In particular, the role of scaffold mechanical properties in optimal extra-cellular matrix development, as well as TEHV durability, are largely unexplored. We have previously demonstrated flexure testing as a sensitive and critical test for BHV tissue mechanical property evaluation [2]. The following study was conducted to determine the feasibility of using this technique to provide fundamental information required for optimizing TEHV scaffold designs.

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