Hemodynamic Assessment of Bicuspid Aortic Valves as a Clinical Diagnostic Tool

Bicuspid Aortic Valves (BAV) is the most common congenital cardiac defect occurring in approximately 1-2% of the newborn population in the USA. This defect results from the presence of two leaflets, typically unequal-sized, rather than the normal three leaflets of equal size present in tricuspid aortic valves. A BAV poses significant complications for the afflicted patient, including ascending aortic dilation and aneurysms, aortic valve calcification, aortic regurgitation, and aortic stenosis. The inspiration for this project stems from a need for clinicians to better analyze and diagnose BAV complications, which are often left unnoticed and untreated until such advanced stages that surgery is the only alternative. Developing a model for BAVs is essential for systematically assessing the effect of varying valve morphologies on patient hemodynamics. The specific morphology of each patient BAV is wide-ranging, and it is important to take these unique morphologies into account. Consequently, an in vitro approach is beneficial for recreating distinct morphologies from existing patient data. Clinical approaches focus primarily on in vivo Echocardiography and Phase Contrast-MRI (PC-MRI) scan techniques. While beneficial because of their non-invasive approach and absence of radiation, these procedures have reduced spatial resolution resulting from limited scan times, and lack the ability to accurately measure individual pressures and hemodynamic characteristics surrounding the diseased valve. By using an in vitro approach with the same clinical equipment, it is possible to collect these measurements more accurately, establishing a valuable tool for clinical use in analyzing and diagnosing potential BAV complications before they arise.

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