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Biomed Tech (Berl). 2013 Oct;58(5):389-97. doi: 10.1515/bmt-2012-0148.

Biological heart valves.

Abstract

Cardiac valvular pathologies are often caused by rheumatic fever in young adults, atherosclerosis in elderly patients, or by congenital malformation of the heart in children, in effect affecting almost all population ages. Almost 300,000 heart valve operations are performed worldwide annually. Tissue valve prostheses have certain advantages over mechanical valves such as biocompatibility, more physiological hemodynamics, and no need for life-long systemic anticoagulation. However, the major disadvantage of biological valves is related to their durability. Nevertheless, during the last decade, the number of patients undergoing biological, rather than mechanical, valve replacement has increased from half to more than three-quarters for biological implants. Continuous improvement in valve fabrication includes development of new models and shapes, novel methods of tissue treatment, and preservation and implantation techniques. These efforts are focused not only on the improvement of morbidity and mortality of the patients but also on the improvement of their quality of life. Heart valve tissue engineering aims to provide durable, "autologous" valve prostheses. These valves demonstrate adaptive growth, which may avoid the need of repeated operations in growing patients.

PMID:
24101369
DOI:
10.1515/bmt-2012-0148
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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