The effect of varying degrees of stenosis on the characteristics of turbulent pulsatile flow through heart valves

D. Bluestein, S. Einav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many problems and complications associated with heart valves are related to the dynamic behavior of the valve and the resultant unsteady flow patterns. An accurate depiction of the spatial and temporal velocity and rms distributions imparts better understanding of flow related valve complications, and may be used as a guideline in valve design. While the generalized correlation between increased turbulence level and the severity of the stenosis is well established, few studies addressed the issue of the intermittent nature of turbulence and its timing in the cardiac cycle, and almost none assessed the effect of a progressive stenosis on the flow characteristics through heart valves. In this experimental work we simulated the type of flow which is present in normal and stenosed valves and conducted a comprehensive investigation of valve hemodynamics, valvular turbulence and morphology under varying degrees of stenosis. The characteristics of valves and stenoses were simulated closely, to achieve the flow conditions that initiate turbulent flow conditions. Laser Doppler anemometry (LDA) measurements were carried out in a pulse duplicator system distal to trileaflet polyurethane prosthetic heart valves, installed at mitral and aortic positions. The effect of the degree of the stenosis was comparatively studied through the structure of the turbulent jets emerging from normal and stenotic heart valves. Maximum turbulence level was achieved during the decelerating phase and correlated to the severity of the stenosis, followed by relaminarization of the flow during the acceleration phase. The intermittent nature of the turbulence emphasized the importance of realizing the timing of the turbulence production and its spatial location for optimizing current valve designs. The plug flow through the normal aortic valve prosthesis was replaced by jet like behavior for a 65% stenosis, with the jet becoming narrower and stronger for a 90% stenosis. The morphology of the velocity and turbulence waveforms was found to be govement by the stenosis geometry and the valve position (aortic, mitral).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-924
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1995


  • Bloodflow
  • Heart valves
  • Stenosis


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