The mechanism of opening of the aortic valve

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1979 Jun;77(6):863-70.


The mechanism of opening of the aortic valve was investigated in dogs by attaching radiopaque markers to the commissures and the leaflets. Analysis of abnormal cardiac cycles demonstrated that, when the ventricular pressure first equalled the aortic pressure, the intercomissural distances increased 9 percent, and the valve opened with a stellate orifice without forward flow and without a rise in aortic pressure. Further opening of the aortic valve was dependent on forward flow over a narrow range. A new mechanism of aortic valve opening is proposed. This mechanism results in minimal flexion stresses on the leaflets and is important for the longevity of the normal aortic valve. It can occur only if the leaflets arise from an expansile aortic root.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aortic Valve / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve / physiology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cineradiography
  • Diastole
  • Dogs
  • Hemodynamics
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Systole
  • Technology, Radiologic / instrumentation