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PeerJ. 2018 Oct 25;6:e5805. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5805. eCollection 2018.

Recent advances and challenges on application of tissue engineering for treatment of congenital heart disease.

Author information

Surgical Division, Teleflex Incorporated, Bristol, United Kingdom.
Department of Anatomical Sciences, University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.
Contributed equally


Congenital heart disease (CHD) affects a considerable number of children and adults worldwide. This implicates not only developmental disorders, high mortality, and reduced quality of life but also, high costs for the healthcare systems. CHD refers to a variety of heart and vascular malformations which could be very challenging to reconstruct the malformed region surgically, especially when the patient is an infant or a child. Advanced technology and research have offered a better mechanistic insight on the impact of CHD in the heart and vascular system of infants, children, and adults and identified potential therapeutic solutions. Many artificial materials and devices have been used for cardiovascular surgery. Surgeons and the medical industry created and evolved the ball valves to the carbon-based leaflet valves and introduced bioprosthesis as an alternative. However, with research further progressing, contracting tissue has been developed in laboratories and tissue engineering (TE) could represent a revolutionary answer for CHD surgery. Development of engineered tissue for cardiac and aortic reconstruction for developing bodies of infants and children can be very challenging. Nevertheless, using acellular scaffolds, allograft, xenografts, and autografts is already very common. Seeding of cells on surface and within scaffold is a key challenging factor for use of the above. The use of different types of stem cells has been investigated and proven to be suitable for tissue engineering. They are the most promising source of cells for heart reconstruction in a developing body, even for adults. Some stem cell types are more effective than others, with some disadvantages which may be eliminated in the future.


Biomaterials; Bioprosthetics; Cardiac progenitor cells; Congenital heart disease; Scaffolds; Stem cells; Tissue engineering

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests. Antonia Mantakaki is an employee of Teleflex Incorporated.

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