Transcatheter Aortic Valves rely on the tissue-stent interaction to ensure that the valve is secured within the aortic root. Aortic stenosis presents with heavily calcified leaflets and it has been proposed that this calcification also acts to secure the valve, but this has never been quantified. In this study, we developed an in vitro calcified aortic root model to quantify the role of calcification on the tissue-stent interaction. The in vitro model incorporated artificial calcifications affixed to the leaflets of porcine aortic heart valves. A self-expanding nitinol braided stent was deployed into non-calcified and artificially calcified porcine aortic roots and imaged by micro computed tomography. Mechanical tests were then conducted to dislodge the stent from the aortic root and it was found that, in the presence of calcification, there was a significant increase in pullout force (8.59 ± 3.68 N vs. 2.84 ± 1.55 N p = 0.045), stent eccentricity (0.05 ± 0.01 vs. 0.02 ± 0.01, p = 0.049), and coefficient of friction between the stent and aortic root (0.36 ± 0.12 vs. 0.09 ± 0.05, p = 0.018), when compared to non-calcified roots. This study quantifies for the first time the impact of calcification on the friction between the aortic tissue and transcatheter aortic valve stent, showing the role of calcification in anchoring the valve stent in the aortic root.
Keywords: Aortic stenosis; Biomechanics; Radial force; Self-expanding; Tissue-stent interaction; Transcatheter aortic valves.
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