Prosthetic heart valves have been used for over 50 years to replace diseased native valves but still lead to severe complications such as hemolysis, platelet aggregation, and thromboembolic events. The most widely implanted design is the bileaflet mechanical heart valve (BMHV). Most modern BMHV designs have better flow hemodynamics and blood damage performance than their earlier-generation counterparts. However, blood element trauma and thromboembolic events still remain as major complications of current BMHV designs. These problems have been linked to blood element damage caused by non-physiological stresses. These stresses are caused by the complex flow fields that arise due to prosthetic heart valve design, particularly in the leaflet hinge region. In order to reduce the severity of these complications, the blood damage that occurs in flows through prosthetic heart valves must be well understood.

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