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Platform To Evaluate Aortic Root Repair Techniques Based On New Implantable Force Transducers
Tommy Bechsgaard, Jesper L. Honge, Sofie Laugesen, Hans Nygaard, Sten L. Nielsen, Peter Johansen.
Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus N, Denmark.

OBJECTIVE: Surgical treatments for patients with aorta valve insufficiency secondary to aortic root dilatation (aneurisms) include the David reimplantation and the Yacoub remodeling technique. Even though these procedures were introduced more than 20 years ago, limited experimental research has been performed to document their acute effect. Therefore, the aim of this study is to develop a platform for a quantitative comparison of the biomechanical characteristics between the native healthy aortic root and the repaired roots.
METHODS: Two new force transducers are developed, one annulus transducer and one commissural transducer. The annulus transducer is placed just below the aortic valve and measures the dilating and contracting forces during the heart cycle. Wires are exteriorized from the heart past the mitral valve and the left atrium through a purse string suture. A total of six strain gauges are placed on the inside of the ring allowing for individual force measurements at each gauge point on the ring. The commissural transducer is a ring with three measuring rods placed equidistant. The transducer is placed upside down on the outside of the ascending aorta with the ring distal to the rods. Three strain gauges are mounted where the rods meet the ring. These provide measurements of the forces at each commissural point of the aortic valve. The transducers are calibrated under both static and dynamic settings.
RESULTS: The transducers have been manufactured using rapid prototyping in both titanium and hard plastic materials and strain gauges have been mounted. The linearity of the force transducers were tested by applying different known loads (0-5 Newton) to the transducer and plotting the output. A linear fit was made to the data yielding an R-squared value of 0.9999 and a sensitivity of 184mV/N.
CONCLUSIONS: Two aortic root transducers have been developed and characterized. These will provide the basic platform for characterizing various types of surgical procedures related to the aortic root.

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