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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.v11.i34.110
12 pages

Tissue Engineering of Cardiac Valves on the Basis of PGA/PLA Co-Polymers

Ulrich A. Stock
Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA, 02115
John E. Mayer, Jr.
Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA, 02115

ABSTRACT

The limitations of currently used heart valve devices are well known. For prosthetic valves they include infection risk and thrombembolic complications; biologic devices have limited durability. Particularly for pediatric cardiac patients the problem of a lack of growth potential remains a serious issue. The multidisciplinary field of tissue engineering potentially offers an attractive pathway to overcome these disadvantages. The basic concept of tissue engineering is to build a new "tissue" from individual cellular components in vitro using a scaffold to provide an architecture upon which the cells can organize and develop into the desired "tissue" prior to implantation. The scaffold provides the biomechanical profile for the replacement tissue until the cells produce their own extracellular matrix. This newly generated matrix would then ultimately provide the structural integrity and biomechanical profile for the newly developed tissue structure. This work focuses on the concept of using a synthetically produced co-polymer (polyglycolic acid/polylactid acid) as the scaffold for the development of a new generation of heart valves.