Heart valves are constantly exposed to high dynamic loading and are prone to degeneration. Therefore, it is a challenge to develop a durable heart valve substitute. A promising approach in heart valve engineering is the development of hybrid scaffolds which are composed of a mechanically strong inorganic mesh enclosed by valvular tissue. In order to engineer an efficient, durable and very thin heart valve for transcatheter implantations, we developed a fabrication process for microstructured heart valve leaflets made from a nickel-titanium (NiTi) thin film shape memory alloy. To examine the capability of microstructured NiTi thin film as a matrix scaffold for tissue engineered hybrid heart valves, leaflets were successfully seeded with smooth muscle cells (SMCs). In vitro pulsatile hydrodynamic testing of the NiTi thin film valve leaflets demonstrated that the SMC layer significantly improved the diastolic sufficiency of the microstructured leaflets, without affecting the systolic efficiency. Compared to an established porcine reference valve model, magnetron sputtered NiTi thin film material demonstrated its suitability for hybrid tissue engineered heart valves.
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Project funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) is gratefully acknowledged.
Conflict of interest
Authors Klaas Loger, Alexander Engel and Jessica Haupt declare that they have no conflict of interest. Author Rodrigo Lima de Miranda is partner of the Acquandas GmbH (Kiel) and holds several patents on shape memory thin films techniques. Author Eckhard Quandt reports funding of the project by the German Research Foundation (DFG). He is partner of the Acquandas GmbH (Kiel) and holds several patents on shape memory thin films techniques. Author Georg Lutter reports funding of the project by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Center for Heart and Circulation (DZHK).
Human and Animal Rights
No human or animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.
Associate Editor Ajit P. Yoganathan oversaw the review of this article.
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Loger, K., Engel, A., Haupt, J. et al. Microstructured Nickel-Titanium Thin Film Leaflets for Hybrid Tissue Engineered Heart Valves Fabricated by Magnetron Sputter Deposition. Cardiovasc Eng Tech 7, 69–77 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13239-015-0254-6
- NiTi thin film scaffold
- Hybrid heart valve leaflets
- Shape memory alloy
- Magnetron sputter deposition