The Jellyfish Valve is one of the most promising polymer valves for artificial hearts. The present problems to be solved are 1) how to prevent a membrane fracture and 2) how to eliminate a calcification, because both of these problems were observed in experiments with goats after 312 days and 414 days of pumping. Finite element analysis demonstrated that mechanical tensile strain induced in the membrane at valve closure was clearly consistent with the fracture location as well as calcification area in in vivo experiments. Based on this finding, a new valve seat with an additional concentric ring 14 mm in diameter and 0.5 mm in width was finally developed. The maximum strain was dramatically reduced to 52% by the design improvement. Moreover, accelerated fatigue tests demonstrated that the improved valve was 10 times more durable as compared with the original valve, which was equivalent to an in vivo duration of 8.3 years. In animal experiments, including 31 days and 46 days use in a total artificial heart (TAH), no thrombus was found despite the lack of anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapies. These resuits indicate that the improved Jellyfish Valve might be one of the most durable polymer valves, able to perform in artificial hearts for a long period of time.
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