The high incidence of thromboembolic complications of mechanical heart valves (MHV) limits their success as permanent implants. The thrombogenicity of all MHV is primarily due to platelet activation by contact with foreign surfaces and by nonphysiological flow patterns. The latter include elevated flow stresses and regions of recirculation of blood that are induced by valve design characteristics. A numerical simulation of unsteady turbulent flow through a bileaflet MHV was conducted, using the Wilcox k–ω turbulence model for internal low-Reynolds-number flows, and compared to quantitative flow visualization performed in a pulse duplicator system using Digital Particle Image Velocimetry (DPIV). The wake of the valve leaflet during the deceleration phase revealed an intricate pattern of interacting shed vortices. Particle paths showed that platelets that were exposed to the highest flow stresses around the leaflets were entrapped within the shed vortices. Potentially activated, such platelets may tend to aggregate and form free emboli. Once formed, such free emboli would be convected downstream by the shed vortices, increasing the risk of systemic emboli. [S0148-0731(00)01202-4]
Vortex Shedding as a Mechanism for Free Emboli Formation in Mechanical Heart Valves
Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division December 9, 1998; revised manuscript received November 3, 1999. Associate Technical Editor: J. B. Grotberg.
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Bluestein, D., Rambod , E., and Gharib, M. (November 3, 1999). "Vortex Shedding as a Mechanism for Free Emboli Formation in Mechanical Heart Valves ." ASME. J Biomech Eng. April 2000; 122(2): 125–134. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.429634
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