Synthetic implants made by traditional fabrication routes are not patient specific and rarely match the performance of their biological counterparts. We present an additive manufacturing approach for the digital fabrication of tissue-like aortic heart valves featuring customizable geometry and leaflet architectures that resemble those of native valve tissue. Using biocompatible silicones with tunable mechanical properties, heart valves were fabricated by combining spray and extrusion-based additive manufacturing processes. Computer simulations showed that bioinspired leaflet architectures strongly affect the stress distribution throughout the valves, minimizing stresses on the leaflet during a cardiac cycle. Our computational analysis was complemented by in vitro experiments in a pulse duplicator to demonstrate the outstanding hemodynamic performance of the printed heart valves under physiological pressure cycles. The ability to fabricate synthetic implants with tailored designs at multiple length scales is a key contribution toward the digital fabrication of functional implants that perform on par with native body parts.
|Coulter FB et al.||Matter Vol 1, Issue 1, p266-279, July 10, 2019|
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