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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017, Article ID 8920940, 18 pages
Review Article

The Rapidly Evolving Concept of Whole Heart Engineering

1Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Group, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
2Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine, Padua, Italy
3Institute of Neuroscience, National Research Council (CNR), Padua, Italy
4Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua and Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine, Padua, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Laura Iop; ti.dpinu@poi.arual

Received 30 June 2017; Accepted 12 September 2017; Published 9 November 2017

Academic Editor: Andrea E. Sprio

Copyright © 2017 Laura Iop et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Whole heart engineering represents an incredible journey with as final destination the challenging aim to solve end-stage cardiac failure with a biocompatible and living organ equivalent. Its evolution started in 2008 with rodent organs and is nowadays moving closer to clinical application thanks to scaling-up strategies to human hearts. This review will offer a comprehensive examination on the important stages to be reached for the bioengineering of the whole heart, by describing the approaches of organ decellularization, repopulation, and maturation so far applied and the novel technologies of potential interest. In addition, it will carefully address important demands that still need to be satisfied in order to move to a real clinical translation of the whole bioengineering heart concept.