Background: Reduced coronary flow reserve in aortic stenosis and after transcatheter aortic valve implantation is usually attributed to physiological factors taking place during systole, such as an increase in coronary resistance, and backward waves intensity. In this paper, we suggest an additional factor related to the diastolic hemodynamics in the aortic root. Methods: We measured left ventricle, aortic and coronary pressure and coronary perfusion in in-vitro models of healthy, aortic stenosis and an artificial valve at different heart rates and cardiac output conditions, to isolate the effect of hemodynamic factors in the aortic root during diastole. Findings: Our results show that during diastole, coronary perfusion depends on the pressure gradient between the aorta and the coronary inlet. This aorta-coronary pressure gradient is influenced by the hemodynamic flow field in the aortic root. The ratio between the aorta-coronary pressure gradient magnitude in stress to that under rest conditions of a healthy model is ten times higher than the same ratio in the aortic stenosis model and twice higher as compared to the artificial valve model result. The coronary flow reserve of the healthy model is correspondingly higher compared to the artificial valve and the aortic stenosis models. These results are in agreement with the clinical evidence. Interpretation: This study supports the hypothesis of a hemodynamic mechanism in the aortic root that increases coronary flow during rest but reduces the coronary flow reserve in aortic stenosis and artificial valve cases. The results may provide valuable insights regarding valve design.
- Aortic stenosis
- Aortic valve
- Coronary flow reserve
- Transcatheter aortic valve implantation