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Simplified pulse reactor for real-time long-term in vitro testing of biological heart valves

: Schleicher, M.; Sammler, G.; Schmauder, M.; Fritze, O.; Huber, A.J.; Schenke-Layland, K.; Ditze, G.; Stock, U.A.


Annals of biomedical engineering 38 (2010), Nr.5, S.1919-1927
ISSN: 0191-5649
ISSN: 0090-6964
Fraunhofer IGB ()
tissue engineering; bioreactor; heart valve; cardiovascular; biomaterial

Long-term function of biological heart valve prostheses (BHV) is limited by structural deterioration leading to failure with associated arterial hypertension. The objective of this work was development of an easy to handle real-time pulse reactor for evaluation of biological and tissue engineered heart valves under different pressures and long-term conditions. The pulse reactor was made of medical grade materials for placement in a 37 °C incubator. Heart valves were mounted in a housing disc moving horizontally in culture medium within a cylindrical culture reservoir. The microprocessor-controlled system was driven by pressure resulting in a cardiac-like cycle enabling competent opening and closing of the leaflets with adjustable pulse rates and pressures between 0.25 to 2 Hz and up to 180/80 mmHg, respectively. A custom-made imaging system with an integrated high-speed camera and image processing software allow calculation of effective orifice areas during cardiac cycle. This simple pulse reactor design allows reproducible generation of patient-like pressure conditions and data collection during long-term experiments.