Prosthetic heart valves are the sole effective treatment in patients with valvular heart disease. The total number of valve replacements in OECD countries is projected to be 850 000 per year by 2050. Present prosthetic heart valves, while hemodynamically effective, remain far from optimal due to progressive structural deterioration of tissue valves or the burden of chronic anticoagulation for mechanical valves, which has major constraints on quality of life. Valve-related problems necessitate reoperation or cause death in approximately 50% to 60% of patients within 10 years after prosthetic valve implantation. An ideal valve prosthesis would eliminate these limitations. Polymeric heart valves, fabricated from advanced polymeric materials, offer the potential of durability and hemocompatibility. Unfortunately, the clinical transferability of polymeric heart valves has been hampered by the occurrence of in vivo calcification, degradation and thrombosis.
This project aims to develop new polyurethane polymers to improve the anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties and long-term performance of polymeric heart valves. With the use of automated 3D printing technology, a precise and personalized leaflet geometric pattern (high anatomical precision) that matches the heart valve dimensions will be achieved. Developing new low cost, low toxicity polymeric materials with attractive features like excellent biocompatibility and mechanical properties could also be highly valuable for broader biomedical applications.
The CVE part of the Poly Valve project includes the development of test methods for investigating the new polymer as well as the new heart valve prostheses. The focus is on calcification and thrombogenicity of the new material and valves. Furthermore, a stent for the mitral valve position will be designed and simulated numerically.
|This research project is funded by the INTERREG Program V-A Euregio Maas-Rheine of the European Union (Grant Number 2016/98602).