The Impact of Fluid Inertia on In Vivo Estimation of Mitral Valve Leaflet Constitutive Properties and Mechanics

Ann Biomed Eng. 2016 May;44(5):1425-35. doi: 10.1007/s10439-015-1463-8. Epub 2015 Sep 28.


We examine the influence of the added mass effect (fluid inertia) on mitral valve leaflet stress during isovolumetric phases. To study this effect, oscillating flow is applied to a flexible membrane at various frequencies to control inertia. Resulting membrane strain is calculated through a three-dimensional reconstruction of markers from stereo images. To investigate the effect in vivo, the analysis is repeated on a published dataset for an ovine mitral valve (Journal of Biomechanics 42(16): 2697-2701). The membrane experiment demonstrates that the relationship between pressure and strain must be corrected with a fluid inertia term if the ratio of inertia to pressure differential approaches 1. In the mitral valve, this ratio reaches 0.7 during isovolumetric contraction for an acceleration of 6 m/s(2). Acceleration is reduced by 72% during isovolumetric relaxation. Fluid acceleration also varies along the leaflet during isovolumetric phases, resulting in spatial variations in stress. These results demonstrate that fluid inertia may be the source of the temporally and spatially varying stiffness measurements previously seen through inverse finite element analysis of in vivo data during isovolumetric phases. This study demonstrates that there is a need to account for added mass effects when analyzing in vivo constitutive relationships of heart valves.

Keywords: Acceleration; Added mass; Heart valve; Inertia; Isovolumetric; Membrane; Mitral valve; Strain; Stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology
  • Mitral Valve / physiology*
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Myocardial Contraction / physiology*
  • Sheep