Flow dynamics of surgical and transcatheter aortic valves: Past to present

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Department of Biomedical Engineering


Objective: To perform an in vitro characterization of surgical aortic valves (SAVs) and transcatheter aortic valves (TAVs) to highlight the development of the flow dynamics depending on the type of valve implanted and assess the basic differences in the light of flow turbulence and its effect on blood damage likelihood and hemodynamic parameters that shed light on valve performance. Methods: A Starr–Edwards ball and cage valve of internal diameter 22 mm, a 23-mm Medtronic Hancock II SAV, a 23-mm St Jude Trifecta SAV, a 23-mm St Jude SJM (mechanical valve) SAV, a 26-mm Medtronic Evolut TAV, and a 26-mm Edwards SAPIEN 3 TAV were assessed in a pulse duplicator under physiological conditions. Particle image velocimetry was performed for each valve. Pressure gradient and effective orifice area (EOA) along with velocity flow field, Reynolds shear stress (RSS), and viscous shear stress (VSS) were calculated. Results: The SJM mechanical valve exhibited the greatest EOA (1.96 ± 0.02 cm2), showing superiority of efficiency compared with the same-size Trifecta (1.87 ± 0.07 cm2) and Hancock II (1.05 ± 0.01 cm2) (P < .0001). The TAVs show close EOAs (2.10 ± 0.06 cm2 with Evolut and 2.06 ± 0.03 cm2 with SAPIEN 3; P < .0001). The flow characteristics and behavior downstream of the valves differed depending on the valve type, design, and size. The greater the RSS and VSS the more turbulent the downstream flow. Hancock II displays the greatest range of RSS and VSS magnitudes compared with the same-size Trifecta and SJM. The Evolut displays the greatest range of RSS and VSS compared with the SAPIEN 3. Conclusions: The results of this study shed light on numerous advancements in the design of aortic valve replacement prosthesis and the subsequent hemodynamic variations. Future surgical and transcatheter valve designs should aim at not only concentrating on hemodynamic parameters but also at optimizing downstream flow properties.

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