Bicuspid Aortic Valves Experience Increased Strain as Compared to Tricuspid Aortic Valves

Kai Szeto, Peter Pastuszko, Juan C.Del Álamo, Juan Lasheras, Vishal Nigam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


To determine whether the leaflets of bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) experience increased strain when compared to tricuspid aortic valve (TAV) leaflets. The population at highest risk of aortic valve calcification (AVC) are individuals with BAVs. Currently, efforts to medically treat AVC are hampered by a limited understanding of the biomechanical forces involved in the molecular pathogenesis of AVC. Surgically created BAVs and control TAVs were placed into a left heart simulator. Strains were calculated by comparing the distances between points on the aortic valve (AoV) leaflet during various time points during a simulated cardiac cycle. The fused leaflets of BAVs experience significantly more strain during systole when compared to TAVs. Specifically, BAVs experience 24% strain (P < .0001) in the radial direction, parallel to the direction of blood flow, as compared to TAVs. There was peak difference of 4% (P < .001) in the circumferential direction. Based upon the data presented here, we are in the process of identifying how increased strain activates calcification-associated pathways in AoV cells. Future studies will examine whether these stretch responsive pathways can be blocked to inhibit calcification of BAVs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-366
Number of pages5
JournalWorld journal for pediatric & congenital heart surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • aortic valve calcification
  • bicuspid aortic valve
  • mechanical stretch


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