Radiofrequency Ablation Alters the Microstructural Organization of Healthy and Enzymatically Digested Porcine Mitral Valves

J. M. Bender, W. R. Adams, A. Mahadevan-Jansen, W. D. Merryman, M. R. Bersi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Myxomatous mitral valve degeneration is a common cause of mitral regurgitation and is often associated with mitral valve prolapse. With no known targets to pharmacologically treat mitral valve prolapse, surgery is often the only treatment option. Recently, radiofrequency ablation has been proposed as a percutaneous alternative to surgical resection for the reduction of mitral valve leaflet area. Objective: Using an in vitro model of porcine mitral valve anterior leaflet enlargement following enzymatic digestion, we sought to investigate mechanisms by which radiofrequency ablation alters the geometry, microstructural organization, and mechanical properties of healthy and digested leaflets. Methods: Paired measurements before and after radiofrequency ablation revealed the impact of ablation on leaflet properties. Multiphoton imaging was used to characterize changes in the structure and organization of the valvular extracellular matrix; planar biaxial mechanical testing and constitutive modeling were used to estimate mechanical properties of healthy and digested leaflets. Results: Enzymatic digestion increased leaflet area and thickness to a similar extent as clinical mitral valve disease. Radiofrequency ablation altered extracellular matrix alignment and reduced the area of digested leaflets to that of control. Additionally, enzymatic digestion resulted in fiber alignment and reorientation toward the radial direction, causing increased forces during ablation and a structural stiffening which was improved by radiofrequency ablation. Conclusions: Radiofrequency ablation induces radial extracellular matrix alignment and effectively reduces the area of enlarged mitral valve leaflets. Hence, this technique may be a therapeutic approach for myxomatous mitral valve disease and is thus an avenue for future study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-251
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Ablation
  • Biaxial
  • Mechanics
  • Microscopy
  • Mitral
  • Multiphoton
  • Percutaneous
  • Prolapse
  • Radiofrequency
  • Therapy
  • Valve


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