Native heart valves with limited functionality are commonly replaced by prosthetic heart valves. Since the first heart valve replacement in 1960, more than three million valves have been implanted worldwide. The most widely implanted prosthetic heart valve design is currently the bileaflet mechanical heart valve (BMHV), with more than 130,000 implants every year worldwide. However, studies have shown that this valve design can still cause major complications, including hemolysis, platelet activation, and thromboembolic events. Clinical reports and recent in vitro experiments suggest that these thrombogenic complications are associated with the hemodynamic stresses imposed on blood elements by the complex non-physiologic flow induced by the valve, in particular in the hinge region.

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