Design and Development of a Novel Implantable Prosthetic Vein Valve
Sathe, Rahul D.
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Over seven million Americans suffer from Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), a painful and debilitating disease that affects the superficial and deep veins of the legs. Problems associated with CVI include varicose veins, bleeding, ulcerations, severe swelling, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism, which may lead to death. The presence of CVI results from damaged (incompetent) one-way vein valves in leg veins. These valves normally allow forward flow of blood to the heart, and prevent blood from pooling at the feet. However, incompetent valves allow reflux of blood, causing clinical problems. There are few effective clinical therapies for treating CVI. Vein valve transplantation is a surgical option for treatment. However, it is often difficult to find suitable donor valves. Very few prosthetic valves developed in the past have demonstrated sufficient clinical or mechanical functionality. Persistent problems include thrombus formation, leaking valves, and valves that do not open at physiologic pressure gradient. The primary objective of this research was to develop a clinically relevant functional prosthetic vein valve. The novel prosthetic valve is flexible, biocompatible, has low thrombogenecity, and is easy to manufacture. It was designed to address well-defined consumer needs and functional design requirements. The valve was required to 1) withstand 300 mmHg of backpressure with leakage less than 1.0 mL/min, 2) open with a pressure gradient less than 5 mmHg, and 3) meet criteria 1 and 2 after 500,000 cycles of operation. The valve met these design requirements in bench testing. The valve can open with a pressure gradient of 2.6 0.7 mmHg, and can withstand 300 mmHg with leakage less than 0.5 mL/min. The valve remained functional after opening and closing over 500,000 times. The valve presented in this research is operationally functional, and is a potential solution for treating venous incompetence in CVI patients.