An in vitro investigation of the retrograde flow fields of two bileaflet mechanical heart valves

Jeffrey T. Ellis, Timothy M. Healy, Arnold A. Fontaine, Matthew W. Weston, Christopher A. Jarret, Rahul Saxena, Ajit P. Yoganathan

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Abstract

Background and aim of the study: Fluid stresses occurring in retrograde flow fields during valve closure may play a significant role in thrombogenesis. The squeeze flow and regurgitant jets can cause damage to formed blood elements due to high levels of turbulent shear stress. The aim of this study was to characterize in detail the spatial structure and temporal behavior of the retrograde flow fields of the St. Jude Medical and Medtronic Parallel bileaflet mechanical heart valves. Methods: Three-component; coincident laser Doppler anemometry (LDA) velocity measurements were obtained facilitating the determination of the full Reynolds stress tenser and the principal stresses in the valve flow fields. The experiments were performed in the Georgia Tech aortic flow chamber under physiologic pulsatile flow conditions. Data were collected over several hundred cardiac cycles for subsequent phase window averaging and generation of mean velocity and turbulence statistics over 20 ms intervals. A region approximately 8 mm x 10 mm was mapped 1.0 mm upstream of one hinge of each valve with an incremental resolution of 0.13-0.25 mm. Animation of the data allowed the visualization of the flow fields and a quantitative display of mean velocity and turbulent stress values. Results: In the St. Jude Medical squeeze flow, the peak turbulent shear stress was 800 dynes/cm2 and the peak reverse velocity was 0.60 m/s. In the Medtronic Parallel squeeze flow, the peak turbulent shear stress was 1,000 dynes/cm2 and the peak velocity 0.70 m/s. The leakage jet fields of the two valves were very different: in the case of the St. Jude Medical valve, turbulent shear stresses reached 1,800 dynes/cm2 and peak jet velocity was 0.80 m/s; in the case of the Medtronic Parallel valve, turbulent shear stresses reached 3,690 dynes/cm2 and the peak jet velocity was 1.9 m/s. Conclusions: The retrograde flow fields of-these two bileaflet mechanical heart valves appear to be design-dependent. The elevated turbulent shear stresses generated by both valve designs may indicate a propensity for blood element damage during the reverse flow phase of the cardiac cycle, but the extent of flow disturbance was twice as high with the Medtronic Parallel than with the St. Jude Medical valve. This research should yield a better understanding of the significance of retrograde flow to the functionality and potential thrombogenicity of bileaflet mechanical heart valves and aid in the development of new designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-606
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heart Valve Disease
Volume5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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    Ellis, J. T., Healy, T. M., Fontaine, A. A., Weston, M. W., Jarret, C. A., Saxena, R., & Yoganathan, A. P. (1996). An in vitro investigation of the retrograde flow fields of two bileaflet mechanical heart valves. Journal of Heart Valve Disease, 5(6), 600-606.