, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 1760-1775
Date: 09 Feb 2012

In Vitro Characterization of Bicuspid Aortic Valve Hemodynamics Using Particle Image Velocimetry

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The congenital bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is associated with increased leaflet calcification, ascending aortic dilatation, aortic stenosis (AS) and regurgitation (AR). Although underlying genetic factors have been primarily implicated for these complications, the altered mechanical environment of BAVs could potentially accelerate these pathologies. The objective of the current study is to characterize BAV hemodynamics in an in vitro system. Two BAV models of varying stenosis and jet eccentricity and a trileaflet AV (TAV) were constructed from excised porcine AVs. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) experiments were conducted at physiological flow and pressure conditions to characterize fluid velocity fields in the aorta and sinus regions, and ensemble averaged Reynolds shear stress and 2D turbulent kinetic energy were calculated for all models. The dynamics of the BAV and TAV models matched the characteristics of these valves which are observed clinically. The eccentric and stenotic BAV showed the strongest systolic jet (V = 4.2 m/s), which impinged on the aortic wall on the non-fused leaflet side, causing a strong vortex in the non-fused leaflet sinus. The magnitudes of TKE and Reynolds stresses in both BAV models were almost twice as large as comparable values for TAV, and these maximum values were primarily concentrated around the central jet through the valve orifice. The in vitro model described here enables detailed characterization of BAV flow characteristics, which is currently challenging in clinical practice. This model can prove to be useful in studying the effects of altered BAV geometry on fluid dynamics in the valve and ascending aorta. These altered flows can be potentially linked to increased calcific responses from the valve endothelium in stenotic and eccentric BAVs, independent of concomitant genetic factors.

Associate Editor Jane Grande-Allen oversaw the review of this article.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10439-012-0582-8.