JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dynamic analysis of the aortic valve using a finite element model

Ramakrishna Gnyaneshwar, Ramarathnam Krishna Kumar, Komarakshi R Balakrishnan
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2002, 73 (4): 1122-9
11996252

BACKGROUND: The major aim of this study was to examine the leaflet/aortic root interaction during the cardiac cycle, including the stresses developed during the interaction.

METHODS: Dynamic finite element analysis was used along with a geometrically accurate model of the aortic valve and the sinuses. Shell elements along with proper contact conditions were also used in the model. Pressure patterns during the cardiac cycle were given as an input, and a linear elastic model was assumed for the material.

RESULTS: We found that aortic root dilation starts before the opening of the leaflet and is substantial by the time leaflet opens. Dilation of the root alone helps in opening the leaflet to about 20%. The equivalent stress pattern shows an instantaneous increase in stress at the coaptation surface during closure. Stresses increase as the point of attachment is approached from the free surface.

CONCLUSIONS: The complex interplay of the geometry of the valve system can be effectively analyzed using a sophisticated dynamic finite element model. Results not previously brought out by the earlier static analysis shed new light on the root/valve interaction.

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