As I mentioned in the
first section, over the past years, the number of patients affected by heart
valve diseases has been dramatically increased and as a result researchers have
put a lot of effort to find a solution. Tissue engineering is the most
promising approach for a potential treatment and this can be observed to a
certain degree through the following publications.
To begin with, Kidane et
al. (2009) illustrate that the most commonly preferred methods for heart valve
replacement are the mechanical and biological prosthetic ones. However, over
the past years a significant focus has been demonstrated on the negative
consequences, like thrombosis, that either the mechanical or the biological
prosthetic heart valves have postoperatively on young and elder patients. To
handle this situation, the writers depict the use of polymeric materials which
on the one side have the ability to be resistant, flexible with good
haemodynamic properties and on the other side they have limitations such as the
degradation. In conclusion, the properties of polymeric materials make them
interesting for clinical and industrial use and with some further research in
future we can overcome their drawbacks in order to use them in surgeries.
Moreover, Cheung et al.
(2015) review new, developing strategies to face heart valve disease based on
the technology of tissue engineering and evaluate their clinical application.
They emphasize that prosthetic have not proved to be capable of replacing human
heart valves, as they lack the ability of growing and resizing based on the
environmental requirements. They covered and reviewed a broad range of methods
and some of them were the decellularisation, electrospinning and 3D
bio-printing. In their conclusions, it is clearly stated that although it has
been recorded a significant progress with tissue engineered heart valves, a
deeper understanding in their structure and function needs to be performed.
In an earlier research, Rippel et al. (2012)
seek to identify a new and promising solution to the problems that heart valve
disease causes. They argue that although the mechanical and biological
prosthetic valves are used a lot in cardiovascular surgery, they lead to many
complications and are not able to grow or repair like the native heart valves.
Solution to these problems can emerge through tissue engineered heart valves
which are a new alternative method. They are produced by culturing stem cells
on suitable scaffolds, such as synthetic, in an environment that mimics the one
where the native heart valves are or by implanting