OBJECTIVES: The liquid-solid interactions have attracted broad interest since solid surfaces can either repel or attract fluids, configuring a wide spectrum of wetting states (from superhydrophilicity to superhydrophobicity). Since the blood-artificial surface interaction of bileaf-let mechanical heart valves essentially represents a liquid-solid interaction, we analysed the thrombogenicity of mechanical heart valve prostheses from innovative perspectives. The aim of the present study was to modify the surface wettability of standard St. Jude Medical Regent (TM) occluders.
METHODS: Four pyrolytic carbon occluders were irradiated by means of ultra-short pulse laser, to create 4 different nanotextures (A-D), the essential prerequisite to achieve superhydrophobicity. The static surface wettability of the occluders was qualified by the contact angle (theta) of 2 mu l of purified water, using the sessile drop technique. The angle formed between the liquid-solid and the liquid-vapour interface was the contact angle and was obtained by analysing the droplet images captured by a camera. The morphology of the occluders was characterized and analysed by a scanning electron microscope at different magnifications.
RESULTS: The scanning electron microscope analysis of the textures revealed 2 different configurations of the pillars since A and B showed well-rounded shaped tops and C and D flat tops. The measured highest contact angles were comprised between 108.1 degrees and 112.7 degrees, reflecting an improved hydrophobicity of the occluders. All the textures exhibited, to different extents, an orientation (horizontal or vertical), which was strictly related to the observed anisotropy.
CONCLUSIONS: In this very early phase of our research, we were able to demonstrate that the intrinsic wettability of pyrolytic carbon occluders can be permanently modified, increasing the water repellency.
- Laser texturing
- Contact angle