Background

Heart valve disease represents a major global burden. Every year almost 300.000 heart valve replacements are carried out worldwide. Today’s method of choice for the treatment of heart valve disease is surgical heart valve replacement. Nevertheless none of the currently available mechanical and biological heart valve substitutes resemble normal heart valve function. Moreover, patients with mechanical valves require lifelong anticoagulation treatment in order to prevent thrombosis and embolism. In particular young patients with biological valves face a high chance of needing reoperation due to the limited durability of biological substitutes.