A method for real-time in vitro observation of cavitation on prosthetic heart valves

J Biomech Eng. 1994 Nov;116(4):460-8. doi: 10.1115/1.2895797.


A method for real-time in vitro observation of cavitation on a prosthetic heart valve has been developed. Cavitation of four blood analog fluids (distilled water, aqueous glycerin, aqueous polyacrylamide, and aqueous xanthan gum) has been documented for a Medtronic/Hall prosthetic heart valve. This method employed a Penn State Electrical Ventricular Assist Device in a mock circulatory loop that was operated in a partial filling mode associated with reduced atrial filling pressure. The observations were made on a valve that was located in the mitral position, with the cavitation occurring on the inlet side after valve closure on every cycle. Stroboscopic videography was used to document the cavity life cycle. Bubble cavitation was observed on the valve occluder face. Vortex cavitation was observed at two locations in the vicinity of the valve occluder and housing. For each fluid, cavity growth and collapse occurred in less than one millisecond, which provides strong evidence that the cavitation is vaporous rather than gaseous. The cavity duration time was found to decrease with increasing atrial pressure at constant aortic pressure and beat rate. The area of cavitation was found to decrease with increasing delay time at a constant aortic pressure, atrial pressure, and beat rate. Cavitation was found to occur in each of the fluids, with the most cavitation seen in the Newtonian fluids (distilled water and aqueous glycerin).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blood Viscosity
  • Elasticity
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis* / adverse effects
  • Heart-Assist Devices
  • Hemorheology*
  • Humans
  • Mitral Valve
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Time Factors
  • Videotape Recording