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Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2009 Feb;36(2):225-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2008.05099.x.

Fluid mechanics of artificial heart valves.

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  • 1Wallace H Coulter School of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0535, USA.

Abstract

1. Artificial heart valves have been in use for over five decades to replace diseased heart valves. Since the first heart valve replacement performed with a caged-ball valve, more than 50 valve designs have been developed, differing principally in valve geometry, number of leaflets and material. To date, all artificial heart valves are plagued with complications associated with haemolysis, coagulation for mechanical heart valves and leaflet tearing for tissue-based valve prosthesis. For mechanical heart valves, these complications are believed to be associated with non-physiological blood flow patterns. 2. In the present review, we provide a bird's-eye view of fluid mechanics for the major artificial heart valve types and highlight how the engineering approach has shaped this rapidly diversifying area of research. 3. Mechanical heart valve designs have evolved significantly, with the most recent designs providing relatively superior haemodynamics with very low aerodynamic resistance. However, high shearing of blood cells and platelets still pose significant design challenges and patients must undergo life-long anticoagulation therapy. Bioprosthetic or tissue valves do not require anticoagulants due to their distinct similarity to the native valve geometry and haemodynamics, but many of these valves fail structurally within the first 10-15 years of implantation. 4. These shortcomings have directed present and future research in three main directions in attempts to design superior artificial valves: (i) engineering living tissue heart valves; (ii) development of advanced computational tools; and (iii) blood experiments to establish the link between flow and blood damage.

PMID:
19220329
PMCID:
PMC2752693
DOI:
10.1111/j.1440-1681.2008.05099.x
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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