Nanocomposites and Electrohydrodynamic Forming: The new route for the development and construction of biocompatible cardiac valves

Lead Research Organisation: University College London


This proposal brings together highly advanced but still exploratory modelling work that has already resulted in a preliminary prototype design. This is a new three scallop tri-symmetric valve whereby the blood flow is extremely high. During the lifetime of the project this finite element analysis will continue to develop improvements in the exact modulus required and leaflet thickness to achieve the highest hydrodynamic performance possible. The nanocomposite designed with silsequioxane in the form of POSS nanocages will be further improved by incorporation of mixtures of different POSS cages in order to result in further improvements in the anti-calcification and /infection properties critical to the clinical success of the project. By usage of EHDA leaflet processing can be achieved that has previously not been possible by conventional techniques such as dip coating in terms of accuracy and quantitative repeatability. By the addition of a dedicated clinical facility with over thirty years experience in implantation of both mechanical and acellular valves into young children a unique engenderment and infra-structure is established critical to the ultimate success of the project. Each centre is a world leader in their respective field and preliminary work has shown that the three groups can work together well. This resulting highly inter-disciplinary tri-partite group allows unique cross-fertilisation of ideas and novel concepts otherwise not achievable. We feel therefore for the modest resources required that the project has a clearly defined chance of success in achieving all of its stated aims. In summary a new prototype working design of heart valve designed with children's needs in mind is the endpoint of this project so that in vivo trials and possibly limited clinical trials can start at the end of the project.


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