Numerical simulation of the dynamics of a bileaflet prosthetic heart valve using a fluid-structure interaction approach

J Biomech. 2008 Aug 7;41(11):2539-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.05.004. Epub 2008 Jun 24.


The main purpose of this study is to reproduce in silico the dynamics of a bileaflet mechanical heart valve (MHV; St Jude Hemodynamic Plus, 27mm characteristic size) by means of a fully implicit fluid-structure interaction (FSI) method, and experimentally validate the results using an ultrafast cinematographic technique. The computational model was constructed to realistically reproduce the boundary condition (72 beats per minute (bpm), cardiac output 4.5l/min) and the geometry of the experimental setup, including the valve housing and the hinge configuration. The simulation was carried out coupling a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) package based on finite-volume method with user-defined code for solving the structural domain, and exploiting the parallel performance of the whole numerical setup. Outputs are leaflets excursion from opening to closure and the fluid dynamics through the valve. Results put in evidence a favorable comparison between the computed and the experimental data: the model captures the main features of the leaflet motion during the systole. The use of parallel computing drastically limited the computational costs, showing a linear scaling on 16 processors (despite the massive use of user-defined subroutines to manage the FSI process). The favorable agreement obtained between in vitro and in silico results of the leaflet displacements confirms the consistency of the numerical method used, and candidates the application of FSI models to become a major tool to optimize the MHV design and eventually provides useful information to surgeons.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis*