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Keywords:

  • heart valve mechanics;
  • aortic root compliance;
  • inflation test;
  • surface deformation;
  • direct linear transformation

Abstract

The structural compliance of the aortic root has a significant implication for valve procedures such as transcatheter aortic valve implantation and valve-sparing aortic root replacement. However, a detailed quantification of human aortic root structural compliance, particularly in different regions, has been incomplete. In this study, the structural properties of human aortic roots (81 ± 8.74 years, n = 10) were characterized and compared with those of porcine ones (6–9 months, n = 10) using a vessel pressure-inflation test. The test involved tracking three-dimensional deformation of the markers affixed on the different surface regions of the aortic roots, including the three sinuses: the noncoronary sinus (NCS), the left-coronary sinus (LCS), and the right-coronary sinus (RCS), and at three regions along the longitudinal direction of each sinus: the upper sinus (US), the middle sinus (MS), and the lower sinus (LS), and the ascending aorta (AA) region above the NCS. We found that tissue stiffness in physiological pressure range was similar among the three human sinuses. A variation in regional structural stiffness of human aorta was observed. In the circumferential direction, the LS regions were the stiffest in the LCS and RCS, whereas NCS had relatively uniform stiffness. In the longitudinal direction, the human AA regions were more compliant than all sinuses. There was a significant difference in tissue stiffness between human and porcine aortic tissues, suggesting that the mechanical properties of porcine tissues may not be analogous to aged human ones. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 102A: 2365–2374, 2014.