Fluid-Structure Interaction Models of Bicuspid Aortic Valves: The Effects of Nonfused Cusp Angles

Karin Lavon, Rotem Halevi, Gil Marom, Sagit Ben Zekry, Ashraf Hamdan, Hans Joachim Schäfers, Ehud Raanani, Rami Haj-Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is the most common type of congenital heart disease, occurring in 0.5-2% of the population, where the valve has only two rather than the three normal cusps. Valvular pathologies, such as aortic regurgitation and aortic stenosis, are associated with BAVs, thereby increasing the need for a better understanding of BAV kinematics and geometrical characteristics. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of the nonfused cusp (NFC) angle in BAV type-1 configuration on the valve's structural and hemodynamic performance. Toward that goal, a parametric fluid-structure interaction (FSI) modeling approach of BAVs is presented. Four FSI models were generated with varying NFC angles between 120 deg and 180 deg. The FSI simulations were based on fully coupled structural and fluid dynamic solvers and corresponded to physiologic values, including the anisotropic hyper-elastic behavior of the tissue. The simulated angles led to different mechanical behavior, such as eccentric jet flow direction with a wider opening shape that was found for the smaller NFC angles, while a narrower opening orifice followed by increased jet flow velocity was observed for the larger NFC angles. Smaller NFC angles led to higher concentrated flow shear stress (FSS) on the NFC during peak systole, while higher maximal principal stresses were found in the raphe region during diastole. The proposed biomechanical models could explain the early failure of BAVs with decreased NFC angles, and suggests that a larger NFC angle is preferable in suture annuloplasty BAV repair surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031010
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018


FundersFunder number
Nicholas and Elizabeth Slezak Super Center for Cardiac Research and Biomedical Engineering0605403301


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