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Finite element modeling of mitral leaflet tissue using a layered shell approximation


The current study presents a finite element model of mitral leaflet tissue, which incorporates the anisotropic material response and approximates the layered structure. First, continuum mechanics and the theory of layered composites are used to develop an analytical representation of membrane stress in the leaflet material. This is done with an existing anisotropic constitutive law from literature. Then, the concept is implemented in a finite element (FE) model by overlapping and merging two layers of transversely isotropic membrane elements in LS-DYNA, which homogenizes the response. The FE model is then used to simulate various biaxial extension tests and out-of-plane pressure loading. Both the analytical and FE model show good agreement with experimental biaxial extension data, and show good mutual agreement. This confirms that the layered composite approximation presented in the current study is able to capture the exponential stiffening seen in both the circumferential and radial directions of mitral leaflets.

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