A Computational Model of Aging and Calcification in the Aortic Heart Valve
Weinberg, Eli J.
Mofrad, Mohammad R. K.
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CitationWeinberg, Eli J., Frederick J. Schoen, and Mohammad R. K. Mofrad. 2009. A computational model of aging and calcification in the aortic heart valve. PLoS ONE 4(6): e5960.
AbstractThe aortic heart valve undergoes geometric and mechanical changes over time. The cusps of a normal, healthy valve thicken and become less extensible over time. In the disease calcific aortic stenosis (CAS), calcified nodules progressively stiffen the cusps. The local mechanical changes in the cusps, due to either normal aging or pathological processes, affect overall function of the valve. In this paper, we propose a computational model for the aging aortic valve that connects local changes to overall valve function. We extend a previous model for the healthy valve to describe aging. To model normal/uncomplicated aging, leaflet thickness and extensibility are varied versus age according to experimental data. To model calcification, initial sites are defined and a simple growth law is assumed. The nodules then grow over time, so that the area of calcification increases from one model to the next model representing greater age. Overall valve function is recorded for each individual model to yield a single simulation of valve function over time. This simulation is the first theoretical tool to describe the temporal behavior of aortic valve calcification. The ability to better understand and predict disease progression will aid in design and timing of patient treatments for CAS.
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