Heart Valves

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    The human heart is an efficient muscular pump that has four chambers �� two atria and two ventricles �� each closed off by a one way valve. In the course of a day, the heart contracts and expands on average 100,000 times, pumping approximately 2,000 gallons of blood. By opening and closing in a synchronised manner, the four valves keep the blood flowing in a forward direction.

    More than 250,000 bioprosthetic heart valves are being implanted annually. The ability to replace a diseased heart valve with a prosthetic one has dramatically reduced the mortality associated with heart-valve disorders. Unfortunately, this shining success story is only one side of the coin. The other is the complication associated with all contemporary heart valve prostheses. For example if the prosthetic valve is made of titanium and/or pyrolytic carbon, then they require lifelong anticoagulation. In spite of decades of experience anticoagulation is still a dangerous treatment. Suboptimal anticoagulation carries the threat of major clot formation, leading either to catastrophic immobilisation of the valve leaflets or to the downstream occlusion of a major blood vessel.

    Quality control is critical in heart valve components as the consequences of failure are catastrophic. Material properties and geometrical shape are all important in the design and manufacture of heart valves. However surface characterisation of heart valves in both 2D and 3D is also critical as it has a large influence on fluid flow and anticoagulation properties of the valve. For product information click the link below.

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