Spatiotemporal complexity of the aortic sinus vortex


The aortic sinus vortex is a classical flow structure of significant importance to aortic valve dynamics and the initiation and progression of calcific aortic valve disease. We characterize the spatiotemporal characteristics of aortic sinus vortex dynamics in relation to the viscosity of blood analog solution as well as heart rate. High-resolution time-resolved (2 kHz) particle image velocimetry was conducted to capture 2D particle streak videos and 2D instantaneous velocity and streamlines along the sinus midplane using a physiological but rigid aorta model fitted with a porcine bioprosthetic heart valve. Blood analog fluids used include a water–glycerin mixture and saline to elucidate the sensitivity of vortex dynamics to viscosity. Experiments were conducted to record 10 heart beats for each combination of blood analog and heart rate condition. Results show that the topological characteristics of the velocity field vary in timescales as revealed using time bin-averaged vectors and corresponding instantaneous streamlines. There exist small timescale vortices and a large timescale main vortex. A key flow structure observed is the counter vortex at the upstream end of the sinus adjacent to the base (lower half) of the leaflet. The spatiotemporal complexity of vortex dynamics is shown to be profoundly influenced by strong leaflet flutter during systole with a peak frequency of 200 Hz and peak amplitude of 4 mm observed in the saline case. While fluid viscosity influences the length and timescales as well as the introduction of leaflet flutter, heart rate influences the formation of counter vortex at the upstream end of the sinus. Higher heart rates are shown to reduce the strength of the counter vortex that can greatly influence the directionality and strength of shear stresses along the base of the leaflet. This study demonstrates the impact of heart rate and blood analog viscosity on aortic sinus hemodynamics.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number R01HL119824, and the American Heart Association under award 11SDG5170011. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. The authors also wish to acknowledge Steve Johnson for his machining help throughout this study.

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Correspondence to Lakshmi Prasad Dasi.

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Supplementary material 6 (MP4 5182 kb)

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Moore, B., Dasi, L.P. Spatiotemporal complexity of the aortic sinus vortex. Exp Fluids 55, 1770 (2014) doi:10.1007/s00348-014-1770-0

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  • Vortex
  • Particle Image Velocimetry
  • Wall Shear Stress
  • Primary Vortex
  • Aortic Sinus