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
The heart valves allow unidirectional and unobstructed passage of blood without regurgitation, trauma to blood elements, thromboembolism, and excessive stress concentrations in the leaflet and supporting tissue. In order to achieve this, the heart valves rely of their unique macroscale anatomy, histoarchitecture and ultrastructural features that allow them to accommodate repetitive changes in shape and dimension throughout the cardiac cycle. This chapter is focused on the structure-function relationship of the heart valves, with particular focus on the aortic and mitral valves, discussing how the biochemical, histoarchitectural and anatomical features influence valvular function during the cardiac cycle and how valvular function dictates valvular architecture and ECM constitution. The chapter examines the structure-function relationship of valvular tissue by correlating its microscale histoarchitecture and biochemical constitution to its mesoscale biomechanics and macroscale function during the cardiac cycle. Moreover, the chapter examines the influence of pathological alterations on the histoarchitectural and biochemical characteristics of the valves on their biomechanical behavior.
Part of the book: Structural Insufficiency Anomalies in Cardiac Valves