Few technologies exist that can provide quantitative data on forces within the mitral valve apparatus. Marker-based strain measurements can be performed, but chordal geometry and restricted optical access are limitations. Foil-based strain sensors have been described and work well, but the sensor footprint limits the number of chordae that can be measured. We instead utilized Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors-optical strain gauges made of 125µm diameter silica fibers- to overcome some limitations of previous methods of measuring chordae tendineae forces. Using FBG sensors, we created a force-sensing neochord that mimics the natural shape and movement of native chordae. FBG sensors reflect a specific wavelength of light depending on the spatial period of gratings. When force is applied, the gratings move relative to one another, shifting the wavelength of reflected light. This shift is directly proportional to force applied. The FBG sensors were housed in a protective sheath fashioned from a 0.025" flat coil, and attached to the chordae using polytetrafluoroethylene suture. The function of the force-sensing neochordae was validated in a 3D-printed left heart simulator, which demonstrated that FBG sensors provide highly sensitive force measurements of mitral valve chordae at a temporal resolution of 1000 Hz. As ventricular pressures increased, such as in hypertension, chordae forces also increased. Overall, FBG sensors are a viable, durable, and high-fidelity sensing technology that can be effectively used to measure mitral valve chordae forces and overcome some limitations of other such technologies.
View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4044142
View details for PubMedID 31253992