Therapy in cardiovascular medicine often relies on implantation of prosthetic materials or application of stents. The diseases of many cardiovascular structures require their complete and immediate repair by utilising prosthetic materials. The ideal cardiovascular prosthesis involves good functional properties, capability of regeneration and does not activate the host's immune system. Ideally, the graft can be applied for a temporary use and degrades after a predefined period according to controlled degradation kinetics. Only biological grafts would provide this spectrum of properties by today's level of knowledge. However, biological prostheses exhibit some relevant drawbacks as well, such as insufficient mechanical stability or restricted availability. Implants or supporting structures of magnesium alloys would bridge this gap and would either provide a substrate for innovative and temporary grafts or would—as supporting structures—transiently add some missing properties to regenerative biological prostheses. This chapter reviews the different fields of cardiovascular therapeutic applications of magnesium alloys. The required properties of magnesium alloys and their preparation, fabrication and testing will be discussed under the specific cardiovascular perspective.
Part of the book: Magnesium Alloys
The reconstruction or replacement of diseased heart valves, the revascularisation of coronary arteries by coronary artery bypass grafting, the replacement of the central or peripheral blood vessels, and the reconstruction of the irreversibly damaged heart muscle represent the most common fields of application of cardiovascular surgery. In such cases, the diseased tissue is replaced by either a synthetic (metallic or polymeric) or a biological (xenograft, homograft, or autograft) prosthesis, or tissue engineered constructs. The aim of this book chapter is to give an overview over the most frequently used synthetic and biologic polymers as scaffold material in cardiovascular surgery.
Part of the book: Materials, Technologies and Clinical Applications