It is estimated that five million Americans suffer from moderate to severe aortic valve disease, making it the third most common type of cardiovascular disease. Aortic valve replacement, which is second leading reason for undergoing open heart surgery, is the prevailing treatment for patients with extensive aortic valve pathologies. Currently, substitute valves used to replace the disease valves are classified as either mechanical or biological, each of which carry significant disadvantages. Patients with mechanical valves are at a much higher risk for developing blood clots and therefore must remain on anticoagulants for the remainder of their lifetime; and biological valves, which are typically derived from porcine or cadeveric tissues, will deteriorate over time. The ideal replacement valve is one that presents no thrombogenicity or immunogenecity, provides normal hemodynamics, is free of blood damaging elements, offers a practical mode for implantation, is able to grow and remodel, and does not deteriorate over time.

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