The transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) valve is a bioprosthetic valve within a metal stent frame. Like traditional surgical bioprosthetic valves, the TAVI valve leaflet tissue is expected to calcify and degrade over time. However, clinical studies of TAVI valve longevity are still limited. In order to indirectly assess the longevity of TAVI valves, an estimate of the mechanical wear and tear in terms of valvular deformation and strain of the leaflets under various conditions is warranted. The aim of this study was, therefore, to develop a platform for noncontact TAVI valve deformation analysis with both high temporal and spatial resolutions based on stereophotogrammetry and digital image correlation (DIC). A left-heart pulsatile in vitro flow loop system for mounting of TAVI valves was designed. The system enabled high-resolution imaging of all three TAVI valve leaflets simultaneously for up to 2000 frames per second through two high-speed cameras allowing three-dimensional analyses. A coating technique for applying a stochastic pattern on the leaflets of the TAVI valve was developed. The technique allowed a pattern recognition software to apply frame-by-frame cross correlation based deformation measurements from which the leaflet motions and the strain fields were derived. The spatiotemporal development of a very detailed strain field was obtained with a 0.5 ms time resolution and a spatial resolution of 72 μm/pixel. Hence, a platform offering a new and enhanced supplementary experimental evaluation of tissue valves during various conditions in vitro is presented.

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