Functional Tricuspid Regurgitation Model in a Beating Heart Platform

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Currently, clinicians are seeking new, minimally invasive treatment options for functional tricuspid regurgitation (FTR). Challenging tricuspid complexity requires the evaluation of the treatment techniques in adequate and realistic preclinical scenario. The purpose of this article is to describe the design and functional assessment of a novel passive beating heart model of the pulmonary circulation with the possibility to tightly control FTR. The model housed porcine hearts actuated by a volumetric pump that cyclically pressurized the right ventricle. The in-vitro FTR model exploited the tendency of the ventricle to dilate under pressure. The dilation entailed papillary muscles displacement and valve annulus enlargement, thus inducing tricuspid valve insufficiency. Employment of constraint bands allowed to restore valve competency. The system provided consistent replication of the main determinants of the pulmonary hemodynamics in a wide range of working conditions. The experimental model of FTR was reliable, easily controllable, and showed good stability-over-time. Echocardiography and fiberscope imaging provided a unique opportunity to investigate valve dynamics. These features make the platform suitable for realistic training purposes and testing of the upcoming FTR therapies.

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