Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 674–681

A New Bioreactor for the Development of Tissue-Engineered Heart Valves


DOI: 10.1007/s10439-009-9646-9

Cite this article as:
Ruel, J. & Lachance, G. Ann Biomed Eng (2009) 37: 674. doi:10.1007/s10439-009-9646-9


This paper reports the design, manufacturing, and characterization of a new bioreactor dedicated to the development of tissue-engineered heart valve substitutes. First, a comprehensive review of the state of the art in bioreactors is presented and a rigorous classification is put forward. The existing bioreactors found in literature are organized in three groups and discussed with respect to their quality of reproduction compared to the physiological environment. The bioreactor architecture is then decomposed into basic components which may be grouped together in different arrangements, and the well-known Windkessel approach is used to study the global behavior of the system. Then, the new design, which is based on a synthesis of the features of the most evolved systems as well as on new improvements, is explained in detail. Optimal fluid dynamics are obtained with the presented bioreactor through carefully designed components and an advanced computer-controlled actuator. This allows a very accurate reproduction of physiological parameters, namely the pulsating flow rate and pressure. Finally, experimental results of flow rate and pressure waveforms are presented, where an excellent correlation with physiological measurements can be observed.


Bioreactor Design Heart valve Tissue engineering Windkessel 

Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringLaval UniversityQuébecCanada
  2. 2.QuébecCanada

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