Advances in Engineering Venous Valves: the Pursuit of a Definite Solution for Chronic Venous Disease

Alicia Fernández-Colino, Stefan Jockenhoevel

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Native venous valves enable proper return of blood to the heart. Under pathological conditions (e.g. chronic venous insufficiency), venous valves malfunction and fail to prevent backward flow. Clinically, this can result in painful swelling, varicose veins, edema and skin ulcerations leading to a chronic wound situation. Surgical correction of venous valves has proven to drastically reduce these symptoms. However, the absence of intact leaflets in many patients limits the applicability of this strategy. In this context, the development of venous valve replacements represents an appealing approach. Despite acceptable results in animal models, no venous valve has succeeded in clinical trials, and so far no single prosthetic venous valve is commercially available. This calls for advanced materials and fabrication approaches to develop clinically relevant venous valves able to restore natural flow conditions in the venous circulation. Here, we critically discuss the approaches attempted in the last years, and we highlight the potential of tissue engineering to offer new avenues for valve fabrication.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTissue Engineering - Part B: Reviews
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sep 2020

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