, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 1-13
Date: 06 Nov 2007

Procoagulant Properties of Flow Fields in Stenotic and Expansive Orifices

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In the United States, over 125,000 mechanical heart valves (MHVs) are implanted each year. Flow through the MHV hinge can cause thromboemboli formation. The purpose of this study was to examine various orifice geometries representing the MHV hinge region and how these geometries may contribute to platelet activation and thrombin generation. We also characterized these flow fields with digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV). Citrated human blood at room temperature was forced through the orifices (400 and 800 μm ID) with a centrifugal bypass pump, continuously infusing calcium chloride to partially reverse the citrate anticoagulant. Blood samples were tested for the presence of thrombin–antithrombin complex (TAT) and platelet factor 4 (PF4). Velocity and shear stress were measured with DPIV using a blood analog fluid seeded with fluorescent microbeads. The results indicate that small changes in geometry, although they do not affect the bulk flow, change the coagulation propensity as blood flows through the orifices. A more abrupt geometry allows more stagnation to occur resulting in more thrombin generation. PF4 measurements indicated similar levels of platelet activation for all orifices. DPIV showed differences in the jets with respect to entrainment of stagnant fluid. These results help to pinpoint the important parameters that lead to flow stasis and subsequent thrombus formation.