Influence of three mechanical bileaflet prosthetic valve designs on the three-dimensional flow field inside a simulated aorta

J Artif Organs. 2010 Dec;13(4):207-17. doi: 10.1007/s10047-010-0519-7. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


The current design of the bileaflet valve, the leaflets of which open outside first, differs significantly from the natural valve whose leaflets open center first. This difference generates a completely different flow field in the bileaflet valve compared to that in the natural heart valve. In a previous study, it was demonstrated that the valve design greatly affects the aortic flow field as well as the circulatory flow inside sinuses of Valsalva, using saline solution as a working fluid. A limited discussion on the turbulence flow field that could be generated by the valve was provided. In this continuation of that study, therefore, a dynamic PIV study was conducted to analyze the influence of the heart valve design on the aortic flow field, and particularly on the turbulent profile. This study also aimed to determine the influence of the viscosity of the testing fluid. Three bileaflet prostheses-the St. Jude Medical (SJM), the On-X, and the MIRA valves-were tested under pulsatile flow conditions. Flow through the central orifice of the SJM valve was slower than that through the newer designs. The newer designs tend to show strong flow through all orifices. The On-X valve generates simple jet-type flow while the MIRA valve with circumferentially curved leaflets generates a strong but three-dimensionally diffuse flow, resulting in a more complex flow field downstream of the aortic valve with higher turbulence. A 180° orientation that is more popular clinically seems to provide a less diffuse flow than a 90° orientation. The effect of increasing the viscosity was found to be an increase in the flow velocity through the central orifice and a more organized flow field for all of the valves tested.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aorta
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis*
  • Hemorheology*
  • Mitral Valve*
  • Prosthesis Design*