Imaging in the context of replacement heart valve development: Use of the Visible Heart® methodologies
In recent years huge strides have been made in the fields of interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery which now allow physicians and surgeons to repair or replace cardiac valves with greater success in a larger demographic of patients. Pivotal to these advances has been significant improvements in cardiac imaging and improved fundamental understanding of valvular anatomies and morphologies. We describe here a novel series of techniques utilized within the Visible Heart® laboratory by engineers, scientists, and/ or anatomists to visualize and analyze the form and function of the four cardiac valves and to assess potential repair or replacement therapies. The study of reanimated large mammalian hearts (including human hearts) using various imaging modalities, as well as specially prepared anatomical specimens, has enhanced the design, development, and testing of novel cardiac therapies.