Study of Shear Induced Blood Damage in a Bileaflet Mechanical Heart Valve

Approximately 225,000 prosthetic heart valves are implanted each year worldwide, and about 50% of these are mechanical heart valves (MHVs). It is well established that present day MHVs are associated with a certain level of blood element trauma. The bileaflet mechanical heart valve (BMHV) design is one of the least thrombogenic MHV designs, but they are still known to cause patient mortality due to valvular thrombosis. Given that thromboembolic complications exist primarily due to high mechanical stresses experienced by blood elements, it appears that reduction of these mechanical stresses would lessen the increased risk of blood damage and thromboembolism. Previous studies in our lab have shown that passive flow control in the form of vortex generators (VG) mounted on BMHV leaflet surfaces can effectively diminish turbulent stresses. In this study, we hope to find the VG design with the least blood damage using a well-reviewed protocol to quantify blood damage, due by shear stress, caused by BMHV.

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