Collagen bundle orientation explains aortic valve leaflet coaptation

Peter E. Hammer, Christina A. Pacak, Robert D. Howe, Pedro J. Del Nido

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


The aortic valve owes its strength and durability to a network of collagen fibers within the leaflets. However, the pattern of these fibers and their role in valve function is not well understood. We imaged and quantified the macroscopically visible pattern of collagen fibers in seven porcine aortic valves with particular attention to measuring this pattern in the unstrained leaflet. We then used a structural finite element model of the aortic valve to study the effect of the observed collagen pattern on the configuration of the loaded valve. Results showed that collagen is oriented oblique to the free edge over much of the leaflet in its unstrained state, and simulations suggest that this architecture plays an important role by enabling adequate valve leaflet coaptation. Simulation results were validated by comparison with images of a porcine aortic valve under load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFunctional Imaging and Modeling of the Heart - 7th International Conference, FIMH 2013, Proceedings
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event7th International Conference on Functional Imaging and Modeling of the Heart, FIMH 2013 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 20 2013Jun 22 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7945 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference7th International Conference on Functional Imaging and Modeling of the Heart, FIMH 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Aortic valve
  • coaptation
  • collagen
  • simulation


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