Engineered heart valve tissue (EHVT) has received much attention as a potential pediatric valve replacement therapy, offering prospective long-term functional improvements over current options. A significant gap in the literature exists, however, regarding estimating tissue mechanical properties from tissue-scaffold composites. Detailed three-dimensional structural information prior to implantation (in vitro) and after implantation in (in vivo) is needed for improved modeling of tissue properties. As such, a novel high-resolution imaging technique will be employed to obtain three-dimensional microstructural information. Analysis techniques will be used to fully quantify constituents of interest including scaffold, collagen, and cellular information and to develop appropriate two-dimensional sectioning sampling protocols. It is the intent of this work to guide modeling efforts to better elucidate EHVT tissue-specific mechanical properties.

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