Biomedical engineering inputs have been important in the design, development and testing of substitute heart valves as well as in the pre- and post-operative management of patients with cardiac valve disease. This paper is a review of heart valve replacement whose goal is the enhancement of future bioengineering contributions. We review the approach to the patient with valvular heart disease, and the sources of early and late postoperative pathology with emphasis on complications of the prostheses used. Major significant problem areas relate to the noninvasive evaluation of cardiovascular function (both before and after surgery), device design, hemodynamics, and the need for thromboresistant and durable materials.
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