In vitro assessment of mitral valve function in cyclically pressurized porcine hearts

Riccardo Vismara*, Alberto M. Leopaldi, Marco Piola, Chiara Asselta, Massimo Lemma, Carlo Antona, Alberto Redaelli, Frans van de Vosse, Marcel Rutten, Gianfranco B. Fiore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recent approaches to the in vitro experimental study of cardiac fluid mechanics involve the use of whole biological structures to investigate in the lab novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of heart pathologies. To enhance reliability and repeatability, the influence of the actuation strategy of the experimental apparatuses on the biomechanics of biological structures needs to be assessed. Using echography and intracardiac high-speed imaging, we compared the mitral valve (MV) anatomo-functional features (coaptation areas/lengths, papillary muscles-valvular plane distances) in two passive-beating-heart mock loops with internal (IPML) or external (EPML) pressurization of the ventricular chamber. Both apparatuses showed fluid dynamic conditions that closely resembled the physiology. The MVs analyzed in the EPML presented coaptation areas and lengths that were systematically higher, and exhibited greater variability from early-to peak-systole, as compared to those in the IPML. Moreover, in the EPML, the MV leaflets exhibited a convexity with high curvature toward the atrium. With the IPML, MV coaptation lengths ranged similar to available clinical data and the papillary muscles-valve plane distances were more stable throughout systole. In conclusion, both the apparatuses allow for reproducing in vitro the left heart hemodynamics, in terms of flow rates and pressures, with proper mitral valve continence. Results suggest that the IPML is more suitable for replicating the physiological MV functioning, while the EPML may have more potential as a model for the study of MV pathologies. IPEM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-353
JournalMedical Engineering & Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • In vitro
  • Circulatory mock loops
  • Mitral valve

Cite this