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Cavitation behavior observed in three monoleaflet mechanical heart valves under accelerated testing conditions

Chi-Wen Lo, Jia-Shing Liu, Chi-Pei Li, Po-Chien Lu, Ned H Hwang
ASAIO Journal: a Peer-reviewed Journal of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs 2008, 54 (2): 163-71
18356649
Accelerated testing provides a substantial amount of data on mechanical heart valve durability in a short period of time, but such conditions may not accurately reflect in vivo performance. Cavitation, which occurs during mechanical heart valve closure when local flow field pressure decreases below vapor pressure, is thought to play a role in valve damage under accelerated conditions. The underlying flow dynamics and mechanisms behind cavitation bubble formation are poorly understood. Under physiologic conditions, random perivalvular cavitation is difficult to capture. We applied accelerated testing at a pulse rate of 600 bpm and transvalvular pressure of 120 mm Hg, with synchronized videographs and high-frequency pressure measurements, to study cavitation of the Medtronic Hall Standard (MHS), Medtronic Hall D-16 (MHD), and Omni Carbon (OC) valves. Results showed cavitation bubbles between 340 and 360 micros after leaflet/housing impact of the MHS, MHD, and OC valves, intensified by significant leaflet rebound. Squeeze flow, Venturi, and water hammer effects each contributed to cavitation, depending on valve design.

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