The four heart valves represented in the mammalian hearts are responsible for maintaining unidirectional, non-hinder blood flow. The heart valve leaflets synchronically open and close approximately 4 million times a year and more than 3 billion times during the life. Valvular heart dysfunction is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality around the world. When one of the valves malfunctions, the medical choice is may be to replace the original valves with an artificial one. Currently, the mechanical and biological artificial valves are clinically used with some drawbacks. Tissue engineering heart valve concept represents a new technique to enhance the current model. In tissue engineering method, a three-dimensional scaffold is fabricated as the template for neo-tissue development. Appropriate cells are seeded to the matrix in vitro. Various approaches have been investigated either in scaffold biomaterials and fabrication techniques or cell source and cultivation methods. The available results of ongoing experiments indicate a promising future in this area (particularly in combination of bone marrow stem cells with synthetic scaffold), which can eliminate the need for lifelong anti-coagulation medication, durability and reoperation problems.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.