Growth and remodeling of tissue-engineered heart valves
Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated excellent initial functionality of tissue-engineered heart valves (TEHVs). Medium-term follow-up, however, shows the development of valvular insufficiency in many studies, which is caused by cell-mediated tissue remodeling resulting in leaflet retraction. It is important to understand the underlying mechanisms of tissue growth and remodeling to be able to design valves that maintain their functionality in the long term and have the capacity to follow the anatomical growth of the recipient.
Tissue growth and remodeling are complex processes that are modulated by mechanical stimuli. Due to the complex interactions of growth and remodeling with the valve geometry, material properties, and hemodynamic loads, computational modeling is indispensible to systematically investigate the underlying mechanisms. In this project, we will develop computational models that predict cell-mediated tissue remodeling of TEHVs. We will investigate how remodeling of TEHVs depends on the valve geometry and material properties, to optimize the valve design in terms of preventing valvular insufficiency.