Date of Award

Fall 2002

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Biomedical Engineering Committee

First Advisor

Michael Jaffe

Second Advisor

William Corson Hunter

Third Advisor

Treena Livingston Arinzeh

Abstract

In the current state of medical technology, there exists the need for a quality medical device to replace a failing heart valve. Presently, mechanical valves as well as donor tissue valves, either from humans or animals are used to replace failing heart valves. These valves although they can operate in the heart satisfactorily are not equal to the body replacing its own valve. Tissue Engineering in simple terms is the field of helping the body replace its own failing organ. In scientific terms, Tissue Engineering is a relatively young field, a majority of the major advancements have come in the last ten years. Currently, work is feverishly being done to develop a tissue engineered heart valve both at MIT and at the Harvard Medical School.

In this thesis, the author will detail a group of tissue engineering scaffolds that were developed and tested which are comprised of biodegradable materials. As the quantity of heart valve cells increases the polymer thickness needs to be decreased, or degraded whereby keeping the overall heart valve thickness within its physiological limitations. Also, in this thesis, the author will detail the initial and then final solvent casting process used to develop the test samples. The first process manufactured a three dimensional test sample whereas the final process was used to develop two dimensional flat rectangular samples. These samples produced from the final processing method showed promising results as well as a manufacturing process capable of producing repeatable results with varying compositions. Finally, the author will detail the recommended design and development paths both with the material and the sample preparation process.

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