Valvular heart disease and bioprosthetic heart valves: Defining mechanisms of degeneration and therapeutic discovery from bedside to bench

Aortic stenosis (AS) is a narrowing of the valve that controls blood flow from the heart to the body. AS results in significant decline in quality of life and can be fatal if untreated. Unlike most types of heart disease, there is no medication to treat AS and the primary therapy option is replacing the diseased valve with an artificial one by open-heart surgery or transcatheter implantation (insertion of an artificial valve through the blood vessels leading to the heart). Unfortunately, artificial valves can be dysfunctional and have limited durability, which can lead to heart failure, the need for repeat valve replacement, or death. With a focus on clot that can form on artificial valves, this research aims to determine the causes of valve dysfunction and degeneration, define methods to detect and predict which patients will experience valve dysfunction, and identify methods to increase valve durability. Overall, this work will provide critical new information to guide clinical care and the future evolution of artificial heart valve use that will improve the outcomes and quality of life of patients with AS.