Flow characteristics past a bileaflet mechanical heart valve were measured under physiological flow conditions in a straight tube with an axisymmetric expansion, similar to vessels used in previous studies, and in an anatomical model of the aorta. We found that anatomical features, including the three-lobed sinus and the aorta’s curvature affected significantly the flow characteristics. The turbulent and viscous stresses were presented and discussed as indicators for potential blood damage and thrombosis. Both types of stresses, averaged over the two axial measurement planes, were significantly lower in the anatomical model than in the axisymmetric one. This difference was attributed to the lower height-to-width ratio and more gradual contraction of the anatomical aortic sinus. The curvature of the aorta caused asymmetries in the velocity and stress distributions during forward flow. Secondary flows resulting from the aorta’s curvature are thought to have redistributed the fluid stresses transversely, resulting in a more homogeneous stress distribution in the anatomical aortic root than in the axisymmetric root. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of modelling accurately the aortic geometry in experimental and computational studies of prosthetic devices. Moreover, our findings suggest that grafts used for aortic root replacement should approximate as closely as possible the shape of the natural sinuses.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: May 23, 2017
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