Steady flow hemodynamic and energy loss measurements in normal and simulated calcified tricuspid and bicuspid aortic valves

Clara Seaman, A George Akingba, Philippe Sucosky
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 2014, 136 (4)
The bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), which forms with two leaflets instead of three as in the normal tricuspid aortic valve (TAV), is associated with a spectrum of secondary valvulopathies and aortopathies potentially triggered by hemodynamic abnormalities. While studies have demonstrated an intrinsic degree of stenosis and the existence of a skewed orifice jet in the BAV, the impact of those abnormalities on BAV hemodynamic performance and energy loss has not been examined. This steady-flow study presents the comparative in vitro assessment of the flow field and energy loss in a TAV and type-I BAV under normal and simulated calcified states. Particle-image velocimetry (PIV) measurements were performed to quantify velocity, vorticity, viscous, and Reynolds shear stress fields in normal and simulated calcified porcine TAV and BAV models at six flow rates spanning the systolic phase. The BAV model was created by suturing the two coronary leaflets of a porcine TAV. Calcification was simulated via deposition of glue beads in the base of the leaflets. Valvular performance was characterized in terms of geometric orifice area (GOA), pressure drop, effective orifice area (EOA), energy loss (EL), and energy loss index (ELI). The BAV generated an elliptical orifice and a jet skewed toward the noncoronary leaflet. In contrast, the TAV featured a circular orifice and a jet aligned along the valve long axis. While the BAV exhibited an intrinsic degree of stenosis (18% increase in maximum jet velocity and 7% decrease in EOA relative to the TAV at the maximum flow rate), it generated only a 3% increase in EL and its average ELI (2.10 cm2/m2) remained above the clinical threshold characterizing severe aortic stenosis. The presence of simulated calcific lesions normalized the alignment of the BAV jet and resulted in the loss of jet axisymmetry in the TAV. It also amplified the degree of stenosis in the TAV and BAV, as indicated by the 342% and 404% increase in EL, 70% and 51% reduction in ELI and 48% and 51% decrease in EOA, respectively, relative to the nontreated valve models at the maximum flow rate. This study indicates the ability of the BAV to function as a TAV despite its intrinsic degree of stenosis and suggests the weak dependence of pressure drop on orifice area in calcified valves.

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