Polymeric heart valves: new materials, emerging hopes
Heart valve (HV) replacements are among the most widely used cardiovascular devices and are in rising demand. Currently, clinically available devices are restricted to slightly modified mechanical and bioprosthetic valves. Polymeric HVs could represent an attractive alternative to the existing prostheses, merging the superior durability of mechanical valves and the enhanced haemodynamic function of bioprosthetic valves. After early unsatisfactory clinical results, polymeric HVs did not reach commercialization, mainly owing to their limited durability. Recent advances in polymers, nanomaterials and surface modification techniques together with the emergence of novel biomaterials have resulted in improved biocompatibility and biostability. Advances in HV design and fabrication methods could also lead to polymeric HVs that are suitable for long-lasting implantation. Considering all these progresses, it is likely that the new generation of polymeric HVs will find successful long-term clinical applications in future.
Journal: - Volume 27, Issue 6, June 2009, Pages 359–367