Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Biomedical Science

First Advisor

Mohamad Azhar


Calcific Aortic Valve Disease (CAVD) is a progressive heart disease that ranges from aortic valve sclerosis to aortic valve stenosis. It is characterized by intense calcification and compromised valve function. CAVD affects 25% of people older than 65 and 50% of people older than 85. These rates are expected to increase in the United States due to higher levels of obesity and diabetes, as well as an aging population. CAVD is the leading cause of valve replacement surgery. Annual healthcare costs for these valve replacements are currently estimated to be approximately 2 billion dollars. There are currently no medications approved by the FDA to treat CAVD.

This thesis focuses on two potential pathways to non-invasively treat CAVD. First, male sex is widely considered to be a major risk factor. The goal of one project is to understand why this is, as insights at the molecular level could lead to the treatment of CAVD using medication or supplements such as estrogen supplements. The results suggest that estrogen is protective in female VICs, but this is not the case for male VICs.

The second project centers on studying whether targeted EDTA chelation therapy (via nanoparticles) can reduce calcification of the aortic valve and improve heart function. The results indicate that this method is capable of reducing calcification in the aortic valve.


© 2022, Henry Pascal Helms

Available for download on Saturday, October 05, 2024

Included in

Biomedical Commons