Date of Award

8-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Bioengineering

Committee Member

Naren Vyavahare, Ph.D., Committee Chair

Committee Member

Martine Laberge, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dan Simionescu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jiro Nagatomi, Ph.D.

Abstract

Over 350,000 artificial heart valves are implanted each year domestically in the US due to valvular stenosis, regurgitation, or congenital defects. However, worldwide, there is precipitous demand of artificial heart valves in emerging economies and this demand is in younger populations because the need for artificial valves in these regions are driven by disease states such as rheumatic fever. With the increasing demand on this life sustaining device, a more robust and durable biomaterial with higher implant life is necessary for increased patient patency and quality of life. Current heart valve replacements only last 10-15 years before implant failure occurs. These replacements fail primarily due to structural degradation through wear and tear (leading to regurgitation) and/or calcification (leading to stenosis). Therefore, we have developed a novel fabrication method that produces a more durable material that is structurally more stable and resists calcification. Furthermore, through the use of this novel fabrication method, we have been able to study mechanistically the underlying factors in failure modes of current biomaterials used in bioprosthetic heart valve fabrication that lead to structural degradation and calcificaiton. Through the analyses of investigating potential failure modes, we are able to better strategically approach improving the next iteration of bioprosthetic heart valve materials that can significantly improve current patient segment quality of life as well as give healthcare options to those currently underserved in the bioprosthetic heart valve market.

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