Article

Biomechanical implications of the congenital bicuspid aortic valve: a finite element study of aortic root function from in vivo data.

Department of Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy.
The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery (Impact Factor: 3.41). 04/2010; 140(4):890-6, 896.e1-2. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2010.01.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Congenital bicuspid aortic valves frequently cause aortic stenosis or regurgitation. Improved understanding of valve and root biomechanics is needed to achieve advancements in surgical repair techniques. By using imaging-derived data, finite element models were developed to quantify aortic valve and root biomechanical alterations associated with bicuspid geometry.
A dynamic 3-dimensional finite element model of the aortic root with a bicuspid aortic valve (type 1 right/left) was developed. The model's geometry was based on measurements from 2-dimensional magnetic resonance images acquired in 8 normotensive and otherwise healthy subjects with echocardiographically normal function of their bicuspid aortic valves. Numeric results were compared with those obtained from our previous model representing the normal root with a tricuspid aortic valve. The effects of raphe thickening on valve kinematics and stresses were also evaluated.
During systole, the bicuspid valve opened asymmetrically compared with the normal valve, resulting in an elliptic shape of its orifice. During diastole, the conjoint cusp occluded a larger proportion of the valve orifice and leaflet bending was altered, although competence was preserved. The bicuspid model presented higher stresses compared with the tricuspid model, particularly in the central basal region of the conjoint cusp (+800%). The presence of a raphe partially reduced stress in this region but increased stress in the other cusp.
Aortic valve function is altered in clinically normally functioning bicuspid aortic valves. Bicuspid geometry per se entails abnormal leaflet stress. The stress location suggests that leaflet stress may play a role in tissue remodeling at the raphe region and in early leaflet degeneration.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
105 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous studies on BAV (bicuspid aortic valve)-related aortopathy, whose aetiology is still debated, have focused mainly on severe dilatations. In the present study, we aimed to detect earlier signs of aortopathy. Specimens were collected from the 'concavity' (lesser curvature) and the 'convexity' (greater curvature) of mildly dilated AAs (ascending aortas; diameter ≤4 cm) with stenotic TAV (tricuspid aortic valve) or BAV and from donor normal aortas. Specimens were submitted to morphometry, immunohistochemistry and differential gene-expression analysis, focusing on SMC (smooth muscle cell) phenotype, remodelling, MF (myofibroblast) differentiation and TGFβ (transforming growth factor β) pathway. Smoothelin and myocardin mRNAs decreased in all the samples from patients, with the exception of those from BAV convexity, where a change in orientation of smoothelin-positive SMCs and an increase of α-SMA (α-smooth muscle actin) mRNA occurred. Dilated aortas from BAV and TAV patients showed both shared and distinct alterations concerning the TGFβ pathway, including an increased TGFβ and TGFβR2 (TGFβ receptor 2) expression in both groups and a decreased TGFβR1 expression in BAV samples only. Despite a decrease of the mRNA coding for the ED-A (extra domain-A) isoform of FN (fibronectin) in the BAV convexity, the onset of the expression of the corresponding protein in the media was observed in dilated aortas, whereas the normal media from donors was negative for this isoform. This discrepancy could be related to modifications in the intima, normally expressing ED-A FN and showing an altered structure in mild aortic dilatations in comparison with donor aorta. Our results suggest that changes in SMC phenotype and, likely, MF differentiation, occur early in the aortopathy associated with valve stenosis. The defective expression of TGFβR1 in BAV might be a constitutive feature, while other changes we reported could be influenced by haemodynamics.
    Clinical Science 08/2012; 124(2):97-108. · 4.86 Impact Factor
  • Journal of biomechanics 01/2014; · 2.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The risk of acute aortic events in patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) disease is a controversial issue. The real risk of aortic dissection in patients with BAV disease is unknown. An indirect assessment of this risk, however, could be gained with a more detailed understanding of the pathogenesis of BAV aortopathy. There are two major issues that should be clarified before one addresses the question of aortic dissection risk in BAV patients. The first issue, when analysing the data from previous BAV cohorts, is to determine what stage of BAV disease was present in the described patient population. In particular, was the risk of aortic dissection in BAV patients determined before or after aortic valve replacement (AVR) surgery? The second issue to consider is the functional state of the pathological valve within the observed population. In particular, did patients predominantly suffer from BAV stenosis or BAV insufficiency? Unfortunately, the vast majority of published reports do not separate between the different BAV phenotypes, thereby complicating interpretation of the results. Considering these two important clinical variables (i.e. the stage of BAV disease and the functional phenotype), we herein aim to explain the inconsistency of the published data with regard to the risk of aortic dissection in patients with BAV disease.
    Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery 12/2013; · 1.11 Impact Factor