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Physiol Res. 2009;58 Suppl 2:S141-58.

Tissue-engineered heart valves.

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Center for Cardiovascular Research, Prague, Czech Republic.


Currently-used mechanical and biological heart valve prostheses have several disadvantages. Mechanical prostheses, based on carbon, metallic and polymeric components, require permanent anticoagulation treatment, and their usage often leads to adverse reactions, e.g. thromboembolic complications and endocarditis. Xenogenous and allogenous biological prostheses are associated with immune reaction, thrombosis and degeneration, and thus they have a high rate of reoperation. Biological prostheses of autologous origin, such as pulmonary autografts, often burden the patient with a complicated surgery and the risk of reoperation. Therefore, efforts are being made to prepare bioartificial heart valves with an autologous biological component by methods of tissue engineering. They should be biocompatible, durable, endowed with appropriate mechanical properties and able to grow with a child. For this purpose, scaffolds composed of synthetic materials, such as poly(lactic acid), poly(caprolactone), poly(4-hydroxybutyrate), hydrogels or natural polymers, e.g. collagen, elastin, fibrin or hyaluronic acid, have been seeded with autologous differentiated, progenitor or stem cells. Promising results have been obtained with nanostructured scaffolds, and also with cultivation in special dynamic bioreactors prior to implantation of the bioartificial grafts into an animal organism.

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