BACKGROUND: Management of congenital malformations of the pulmonary artery and valve can be challenging. The severity often demands early intervention, which is rarely definitive due to the natural growth and multiple surgeries may be required. An artificial valve made entirely from biodegradable materials that will serve as a bioscaffold for host recellularization would be an attractive solution for these patients. Such valves have been experimentally evaluated with various results. In this study, a simple valve design supported by an absorbable proximal stabilization ring is evaluated both in-vitro and in-vivo.
METHODS: From a 6.7 × 5.0 cm sheet of CorMatrix® tissue we created the valve as an inverted tubegraft with three sutured commissures. A non-closed ring of LactoSorb® basally supported the valve. The commissure height was 2 cm. Inserted as an interposition graft the valve was tested in an in-vitro model and an acute porcine model. Right ventricular and pulmonary artery pressures were recorded.
RESULTS: The in-vitro testing indicated a proper opening and closure function of valve at physiological simulated hemodynamic conditions. The in-vivo evaluation showed a peak right ventricular pressure of 38 mmHg and a peak pulmonary artery pressure of 27 mmHg and thereby a peak valve gradient of 11 mmHg. The pulmonary pressure wave demonstrated a dicrotic notch indicating competence of the valve.
CONCLUSION: This new pulmonary valve made entirely from biodegradable tissue worked in an acute setting and displayed a good hemodynamic profile. The valve gradient observed is equal to or superior of today's surgical treatment options.