Medical engineering

Preventing calcification of bioprosthetic heart valves

Research News /

A defective heart valve is the second most common form of heart disease. Most cases involve a narrowed aortic valve, but often the mitral valve can also be affected. Prostheses significantly increase the life expectancy of those with the disease. While bioprosthetic heart valves have some advantages over mechanical ones, they can become calcified relatively quickly, limiting the length of their useful life. A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS is attempting to prevent such calcification with a new chemical pretreatment of the bioprostheses.