Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 496–507 | Cite as

Ex Vivo Methods for Informing Computational Models of the Mitral Valve

  • Charles H. BloodworthIV
  • Eric L. Pierce
  • Thomas F. Easley
  • Andrew Drach
  • Amir H. Khalighi
  • Milan Toma
  • Morten O. Jensen
  • Michael S. Sacks
  • Ajit P. Yoganathan
The Pursuit of Engineering the Ideal Heart Valve Replacement or Repair


Computational modeling of the mitral valve (MV) has potential applications for determining optimal MV repair techniques and risk of recurrent mitral regurgitation. Two key concerns for informing these models are (1) sensitivity of model performance to the accuracy of the input geometry, and, (2) acquisition of comprehensive data sets against which the simulation can be validated across clinically relevant geometries. Addressing the first concern, ex vivo micro-computed tomography (microCT) was used to image MVs at high resolution (~40 micron voxel size). Because MVs distorted substantially during static imaging, glutaraldehyde fixation was used prior to microCT. After fixation, MV leaflet distortions were significantly smaller (p < 0.005), and detail of the chordal tree was appreciably greater. Addressing the second concern, a left heart simulator was designed to reproduce MV geometric perturbations seen in vivo in functional mitral regurgitation and after subsequent repair, and maintain compatibility with microCT. By permuting individual excised ovine MVs (n = 5) through each state (healthy, diseased and repaired), and imaging with microCT in each state, a comprehensive data set was produced. Using this data set, work is ongoing to construct and validate high-fidelity MV biomechanical models. These models will seek to link MV function across clinically relevant states.


Mitral regurgitation Mitral repair Simulation Cardiovascular Imaging Micro-computed tomography 



This work was partially supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (ELP) under Grant DGE-1148903, as well as by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute under Grant R01HL119297.

Conflict of interest

No benefits in any form have been received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles H. BloodworthIV
    • 1
  • Eric L. Pierce
    • 1
  • Thomas F. Easley
    • 1
  • Andrew Drach
    • 2
  • Amir H. Khalighi
    • 2
  • Milan Toma
    • 1
  • Morten O. Jensen
    • 1
  • Michael S. Sacks
    • 2
  • Ajit P. Yoganathan
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiovascular Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical EngineeringGeorgia Institute of Technology and Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Cardiovascular Simulation, Institute for Computational Engineering and SciencesThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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