Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a disease of the lower limbs that affects millions of people in the United States. CVI results from incompetent venous valves. The purpose of venous valves is to prevent retrograde blood flow to the lower limbs. Valve failure can lead to edema, pain, and ulcers. One solution that has great potential is to create an implantable venous valve that could restore function of the venous system. No prosthetic venous valves are clinically used currently because of problems with biocompatiblility and thrombogenicity caused by high shear rates. This paper presents a prosthetic venous valve that could overcome these difficulties by using carbon-infiltrated carbon nanotubes (CI-CNTs). This material has been proven to be thrombo-resistant, biocompatible due to its non-reactive properties, and durable. The valve was designed to be initially open and to close with physiological pressures. Finite element modeling showed that, with a hydrostatic pressure of 20 mmHg (the minimum hydrostatic pressure in the common femoral vein), it fully closed with a maximum stress of 117 MPa, which is below the ultimate strength of CI-CNTs. A computational fluid dynamics analysis demonstrated the valve would cause a maximum shear rate of 225.1 s−1, which is less than the maximum shear rate in the body. Hence, this valve would be less likely than previous prosthetic valves to develop blood clots. Currently, this is the lowest shear rate reported for a prosthetic venous valve. These results demonstrate that a CI-CNT prosthetic venous valve has the potential to be an effective treatment for CVI.

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