Bioprosthetic heart valves are valve replacements constructed from animal tissue. Although they are geometrically similar to native aortic valves and offer comparable hemodynamic characteristics in their function, they have limited operational life, often requiring replacement 10–15 years after implantation. Though much is still unknown about bioprosthetic heart valve failure, it is generally accepted that this failure is to some extent due to structural decomposition. Although the mechanism for degradation is not clearly understood, it has been observed that these regions of failure are typically in locations where the leaflet undergoes large flexion and high compressive and tensile stresses [1]. An understanding of bioprosthetic heart valve failure necessitates detailed quantitative information on the complex motion of and the stresses on the leaflets particularly during the opening and closing phases and their relationship to structural failure.

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