Xenogenic leaflet material, bovine and porcine pericardium, is widely used for the fabrication of surgically implanted and transcatheter heart valve prostheses. As a biological material, long term durability of pericardium is limited due to calcification, degeneration and homogeneity. Therefore, polymeric materials represent a promising approach for a next generation of artificial heart valve leaflets with improved durability. Within the current study we analyzed the mechanical performance of polymeric structures based on elastomeric materials. Polymeric cast films were prepared and nonwovens were manufactured in an electrospinning process. Analysis of cyclic stress-strain behavior was performed, using a universal testing machine. The uniaxial cyclic tensile experiments of the elastomeric samples yielded a non-linear elastic response due to viscoelastic behavior with hysteresis. Equilibrium of stress-strain curves was found after a specific number of cycles, for cast films and nonwovens, respectively. In conclusion, preconditioning was found obligatory for the evaluation of the mechanical performance of polymeric materials for the use as artificial leaflet material for heart valve prostheses.
©2017 Daniela Arbeiter et al., published by De Gruyter
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