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J Heart Valve Dis. 2003 Nov;12(6):772-80.

Two-dimensional fluid-structure interaction simulation of bileaflet mechanical heart valve flow dynamics.

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  • 1IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.



Mechanical heart valve implantation requires long-term anticoagulation because of thromboembolic complications. Recent studies have indicated that the relatively high wall shear stresses and negative pressure transients developed during the valve closing phase may be dominant factors inducing thrombus initiation. The study aim was a two-dimensional (2D) functional simulation of flow past bileaflet heart valve prosthesis during the closing phase, incorporating the fluid-structure interaction analysis to induce motion of the leaflets.


The fluid-structure interaction model used was based on unsteady 2D Navier-Stokes equations with the arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian method for moving boundaries, coupled with the dynamic equation for leaflet motion. Parametric analysis of the effect of valve size, leaflet density, and the coefficient of resilience at the instant of impact of the leaflet with the housing were also performed.


Comparing the predicted motion of the leaflet with previous experimental results validated the simulation. The results showed the presence of negative pressure transients near the inflow side of the leaflet at the instant of valve closure, and the negative pressure transients were augmented during the leaflet rebound process. Relatively high velocities and wall shear stresses, detrimental to the formed elements in blood were present in the clearance region between the leaflet and valve housing at the instant of valve closure.


The simulation can be potentially applied to analyze the effects of valve geometry and dimensions, and the effect of leaflet material on the flow dynamics past the valve prosthesis during the opening and closing phases for design improvements in minimizing problems associated with thromboembolic complications.

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