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Research project

Infective endocarditis

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Project overview

Infection of the heart valves can affect how well the heart works and can cause it to fail. The valves can be replaced but blood clots and more infections are a risk. Our work looked at how an infection might develop by allowing us to mix bacteria will blood vessel cells. We saw that bacteria can be captured by proteins of the blood vessel wall under heart like flow conditions. The bacteria were also caught by the blood vessel wall cells and made them very active. Bacteria also affected how blood clots were made and we saw how clots might affect bacteria sticking to the blood vessel. We also made the bacteria glow in the dark to make them easier to see and this is a big step forward for the next phase of study. Heart valves were also collected from ox and pig hearts and we were able to take x-ray scans. A model of a heart valve was made with 3-D printing and will be tested to measure blood flows. These findings mimic what happens inside the heart and has given us the data that we need to develop our ideas further.
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