Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 645–655

Modeling of long-term fatigue damage of soft tissue with stress softening and permanent set effects

Original Paper


One of the major failure modes of bioprosthetic heart valves is non-calcific structural deterioration due to fatigue of the tissue leaflets. Experimental methods to characterize tissue fatigue properties are complex and time-consuming. A constitutive fatigue model that could be calibrated by isolated material tests would be ideal for investigating the effects of more complex loading conditions. However, there is a lack of tissue fatigue damage models in the literature. To address these limitations, in this study, a phenomenological constitutive model was developed to describe the stress softening and permanent set effects of tissue subjected to long-term cyclic loading. The model was used to capture characteristic uniaxial fatigue data for glutaraldehyde-treated bovine pericardium and was then implemented into finite element software. The simulated fatigue response agreed well with the experimental data and thus demonstrates feasibility of this approach.


Soft tissue fatigue model Permanent set Stress softening Bioprosthetic heart valve 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tissue Mechanics Laboratory, Biomedical Engineering Program and Mechanical Engineering DepartmentUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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